In the past decade international competitiveness has become the top priority of national, regional and urban governments in the advanced capitalist economy. Attracting and retaining creative and high-educated talent as well as creative and knowledge-intensive firms are considered essential ingredients of urban and city-regional ‘recipes for success’. Amsterdam and Dublin have, at both city- and city-regional level, been very active in preparing and implementing competitiveness strategies in which fostering and stimulating creativity, knowledge and innovation play a leading role. The crisis since 2008 has made a reconsideration of these strategies necessary. Is ‘creative knowledge’ still the preferred road ahead, and if it is, can existing competitiveness strategies be continued or should new strategies be developed?