Constantijn van Oranje about “Dutch Tech Improving Our Lives”
5 March, 2021 by
Constantijn van Oranje about “Dutch Tech Improving Our Lives”
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Trailer “Dutch Tech Improving Our Lives” here

What is happening in the Netherlands? Why are we scoring at the top of all the relevant international rankings; yet this success remains relatively unknown? How can we be the 4th most competitive economy in the world – best in EU (WEF); 5th most innovative country; all universities in the top 200 of global rankings; winners of global challenges like: SpaceX Hyperloop, Amazon Parcel Picking Challenge; 7x Solar Endurance World Champions; RoboCup Soccer World champion (at least we have our women and robots to cheer for); Chemistry Nobel prize for Ben Feringa for developing nano machines made of moving molecules – the world’s smallest mechanical devices suitable for medical interventions.

Why? Maybe it is because we always ask …’why?’; we challenge authority; like to think differently and come up with creative solutions. We do not realize it ourselves, but The Netherlands is in its core the ultimate Innovation Nation. From its early history as the first European Republic (even though we came back on that one..) and a global empire; inventing the limited liability company, industrial ship building, civil engineering, and more recent innovations like the CD, WiFi, Bluetooth; and producing early internet pioneers that now fill its hall of fame.

What we find normal the rest of the world finds bizarre; our drugs policy, that we live under water and reclaimed 1/3 of our total land mass; we mention 2 other nationalities in our national anthem, we are Dutch/Netherlands/Holland, have the biggest port in Europe, the world’s second most connected international airport, the highest density of multi-nationals and of course world class DJs.
We hear a lot about the multi-lingual workforce; open investment climate, business friendly government, IT infrastructure & internet exchange, etc. But much of what the Netherlands is today is actually the product of that continuous drive towards invention and innovation. Our technology firms are at the forefront of developing solutions for the world’s toughest challenges. To give some examples of companies represented here today:

  • Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, which enables the next generation of chips as of 2018/2019.  It is produced by ASML, global market leader in this field
  • Philips is radically transforming healthcare for you and me, for care providers and for governments around the globe. They enable consumers and care professionals to take new approaches to health and care by combining the latest emerging technologies such as IoT, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence
  • TomTom is accelerating the future of driving with its high definition maps and RoadDNA: automated vehicles are able to precisely locate themselves on the road and plan manoeuvres

Still there is much more that we can achieve together. The potential of a massive start & scale-up boom is looming with so many breakthrough technologies waiting to be commercially deployed. This is truly an exciting time. To name a few examples:

  • Quantum Technology, by Qutech Delft. Promising computing power can potentially be millions times faster than computers in use today and fundamentally safe quantum networks for communication.
  • Photonics, making chips multiple times faster, lighter and more energy efficient. Leader in integrated photonics, LioniX International, is here today. The applications are in tele- and data communications like 5G, diagnostics in life sciences and sensors in autonomous driving cars. All applications that will improve our lives tremendously.
  • Wageningen Universitythe nr 1 ranking Food&Agri Tech Research institution/university worldwide designs robots and drones to help create the best environment for crops and livestock. Today Wageningen researchers are here with one of the newest, the Plant Sampler robot, which helps sampling the DNA of plants in a fully automated way to increase food safety.
  • Smart sensing: TU Eindhoven developed tiny self-learning sensors (called phoenix motes) that can be injected into utility pipelines and can collaboratively plot the labyrinth and report on its condition. The unique thing is that using the concept of nature and evolution, the next generation motes will be smarter than the previous one and can do an even better job in surveying and detecting problems. Professor Peter Baltus is here today to explain how it works

The Netherlands is an economic powerhouse in a relatively limited geographical area.

Therefore we’re used to doing business with the entire world. And that’s also what our startups need to do to reach their full potential. CES offers them a window into the US. CES Unveiled is also a window looking into the Netherlands and its innovation ecosystem. I am proud to unveil the startups that will travel with us to CES. I highlight a couple for you, examples of Tech Improving Our Lives:

  • Sense Glove– A “virtual reality glove” allows you to throw and pick-up objects and operate machines, but more uniquely it allows you to actually feel what you are doing and records your movements. The technology used by SenseGlove is unique at this moment. The technology will allow training of complex industrial tasks and also help physical rehabilitation.
  • Fizyr – a spin-off from Delft University will revolutionize distribution centers, ultimately making them autonomous. The robots of Fizyr are self-learning and able to pick up parcels or products regardless of size or shape.
  • Mindaffect– here is a medtech startup redefining computer interfaces, allowing the human brain to directly communicate with the computer. In its first application it will enable people with lock in syndrome or who are paralyzed because of ALS to communicate again.

These are only some of the innovations that you must see/feel for yourself. They will be in the market place next door and going to CES2018

Startups are crucial for fostering this innovative power across all industry sectors, giving the Netherlands a lead in areas like medtech, cleantech, 3D printing, and agri-food.

We need more of these and fortunately the Dutch innovation ecosystem is moving in the right direction; with strong exits in biotech like Acerta 4.7billion; IPO of Takeaway propelling it to Unicorn status; Adyen a world leader in payments; record series A rounds of 100m for PicNic, 60m for Message Bird, 20m for Tiqets. With new venture funding pouring in from private investors, the EIF and the government, which is adding 2.5B in funding to the already strong NL capital market, through InvestNL.

To make this innovative power even greater startups must have maximum opportunities to start and grow their business, have access to the best tech people, investors and networks. That is what StartupDelta does and that is why we are here today. We invite foreign investors to also become part of this success story and hope that you’ll be inspired! We want to connect much more with the ecosystems around us and the world’s leading tech hubs.

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