The creative city thesis states that creativity — a creative milieu — is an important precondition for innovation to flourish. Yet, the creative city is often considered a hype, something momentary. This raises the question of whether this thesis has any long-term value. This paper reflects on this question from a local policy perspective. It first presents key elements (success factors) of the creative city as emphasised in academic literature, including an assessment of the extent to which these can be applied in local policies. Next, it analyses their practical application in the two main Dutch cities, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. By assessing these cases against the background of the listed success factors, the paper concludes with some implications for local policy.