It has been argued that the relationship between knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS) and multinational enterprises (MNEs) within the regional economy is advantageous for urban and regional dynamics. It is likely that KIBS aim to locate proximate to (internationally operating) MNEs because of agglomeration externalities. The impact of MNEs on the birth of KIBS has rarely been examined, and the research on the new formation of KIBS has mainly adopted a case study approach, thus limiting the opportunity for generalization. We have taken a more quantitative approach using a continuous space framework to test whether proximity is important for the co-location of KIBS and MNEs in the metropolitan area of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Our results, controlled for other location factors, indicate that KIBS are co-agglomerated with MNEs and that the presence of a MNE significantly influences the birth of KIBS nearby, but the effect on such start-ups is considerably smaller than the positive effect of the presence of already established KIBS. We discuss the implications for urban and regional development strategies and policy initiatives.© The Author (2013). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.