Dutch technology leading in solutions for global challenges

Two major trends will define the worlds progress, uncoming decades: urbanization and climate change. Governments, companies and research institutes worldwide have to find action perspectives concerning these trends. On a global level, the Netherlands play a leading role in the areas of mobility, energy, food and water technology. Through international entrepreneurship, an open and innovative economy and the natural position as ‘gateway to Europe’, the Netherlands have been able to maintain and improve this position. You, as innovative companies, work hard everyday to make the world better, and at the same time, the Dutch economy stronger! Your presence at the Barcelona Smart City Expo World Congress underlines this efforts.

The search for solutions to global challenges also requires international collaboration, sharing knowledge and natural resources. We have to do it together. For this reason the City of Amsterdam, the City of Rotterdam and Brainport Eindhoven, joined in the recently formed public partnership Trade & Innovate NL. At this conference we represent The Netherlands, together with the national government and a large number of Dutch businesses. The Netherlands are aiming to be Circular and Accessible. These are pressing issues in our densely populated nation. After all, air, water, traffic and waste flows don’t respect municipal boundaries, and people rarely live, work and play in the same area.

Smart cities like Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam, are setting future standards for excellence, in close collaboration and sharing knowledge with citizens, inventors, artists, developers, research and knowledge institutions and companies. That’s why we’d rather speak of smart society, then smart cities. It’s all about technology shaped by people in society, not technology dropped over them bij governments or companies. We have to keep in mind that it is not about selling smart technology, but about developing concepts that bring about a change in human behavior.

In the coming years, Dutch cities will redevelop with proven technology into totally different cityscapes with new forms of local energy and food production, lighting, water use. Closed loop recycling and green energy are rapidly becoming the norm. And most importantly, our neighborhoods will be safe, enjoyable and creative living and working environments. Od industrial areas or abandoned office buildings transform into places to live and work, with attractive surroundings. Smart and secure use of big data and efficient public transport connections within and between our major cities are tools we can use to make the economy and society future-proof.

The economy as we know it will shift into new models, structures and meaningfulness. This shift requires a sufficient and clear public governance, involved entrepreneurship and commitment of our citizens.

As leader of this delegation I wish all participants every success!

John Jorritsma, mayor of the City of Eindhoven

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