Noord-Brabant is a cultural, enterprising, innovative and successful Dutch region in Europe where working hard goes hand in hand with taking time out to enjoy the region’s rich cultural life, beautiful nature and good company. Close collaboration between business, knowledge institutes and government is key. Having fun, questioning what we do and then ‘just doing it’ is what creates an inspiring business climate in the region. Innovative entrepreneurship and knowledge sharing both require a creative approach and an open environment.
I am honoured to have hosted the 2016 Reverse Mission to Brabant, where we shared some of the best examples of our region’s new solutions, collaborations and creative approaches.
Welcome to Brabant!
Member of the Executive Board of the Province of Noord-Brabant
Founded in 2004, the Districts of Creativity (DC) Network brings together thirteen of the most creative and innovative regions around the world. Our international orientation makes it a unique network of regions that put creativity and innovation high on the agenda.
Brabant hosted the 2016 Reverse Mission. From 19 April until 22 April 2016, experts, entrepreneurs, policy makers and educational experts from the DC regions were invited to join a fact-finding mission that showcases Brabant’s excellence in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Brabant – Europe's heart of smart solutions
Brabant is an enterprising, innovative and successful Dutch region in Europe and a wonderful place to live. Working hard goes hand in hand with taking time out to enjoy the region’s rich cultural life, beautiful nature and good company.
The close collaboration between Brabant’s partners, in national and international networks, stimulates the further development of innovation and entrepreneurship. It has an international reputation as one of Europe’s top regions for innovation and knowledge, with an inspiring business climate. Brabant strives to maintain and enhance this leading position.
In 2014, Brabant was named as ‘European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) of the Year’. The jury praised the region for its entrepreneurial leadership and strategies to stimulate future-oriented business. In doing so, Brabant makes a significant contribution to economic growth and employment at a regional level. The jury was particularly impressed by the support Brabant gives to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the ‘Brabant approach’, which brings entrepreneurs, education and government together in close collaboration.
Please find below an overview of the programme activities that took place during the Reverse Mission 2016 to Brabant. Use the links in every programme element to find more in-depth information.
Location: High Tech Campus, Eindhoven
Speakers: Henri Swinkels, Member of the Executive Board of the Province of Noord-Brabant | Rob Adams, founder of Six Fingers and Living Lab supervisor
We will start our first day with a warm welcome by Henri Swinkels, a firm supporter of the DC Network. The team of Young Ambassadors explains the journey they will make during this Reverse Mission in their Living Lab.
Presentation, guided tour
Location: Holst centre, Eindhoven
Speakers: Margot Nijkamp, Managing Director Red Bluejay Foundation
Holst Centre is an independent R&D centre that develops technologies and creative applications that improve our lives and health. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia, based around shared roadmaps and programs. Margot Nijkamp takes you through Holst Centre and makes you experience what open innovation stands for.
Presentation, guided tour, design workshop
Location: Strijp-S, Eindhoven
Speakers: Thom Aussems, Managing Director Trudo | Martijn Paulen, Managing Director Dutch Design Foundation | Pieter de Boer, Policy Advisor Agriculture & Agrifood at Province of Noord-Brabant
The former industrial Philips quarter of Eindhoven has been transformed into Strijp-S: the heart of new city regeneration, good architecture and creative entrepeneurship. We will hear everything about urban dynamics and communities and how a 'new city' has been born from the old one.
The office of the Dutch Design Week (DDW) is located at Strijp-S. DDW organises and facilitates exhibitions, lectures, prize ceremonies, networking events, debates and festivities. Agri Meets Design is a platform that enables collaboration between farmers and designers in order to co-create new ideas and designs for food and culture. In a special design workshop we will experience the challenges and creativity that are surrounding our tasty plate of food.
Location: BioArt Laboratories, Eindhoven
Speaker: Jalila Essaidi, Founder and Director BioArt Laboratories
A world where science, nature, technology and creativity meet. BioArt Laboratories encourages innovation and facilitates entrepreneurship leading to new bio materials, start ups and cross over talents.
Installation, presentation, theatre
Location: Piet Hein Eek, Eindhoven
Speaker: Tove Elfferich, industrial designer | Piet Hein Eek, designer | Henri Swinkels, Member of the Executive Board of the Province of Noord-Brabant
The workshops (wood, steel, upholstery, assembly, spraying and ceramics) and studios of Piet Hein Eek form the decor of an artistic installation that shows us how design can build bridges in a changing society.
Piet Hein Eek's event room will be the stage of Lucas de Man's theatre play In Search of Europe. An expedition by contemporary creators (artists and social creatives in the broadest sense including writers, thinkers, makers) in search of knowledge and inspiration for better understanding of urban society and the individuals that shape it.
Interactive presentations, guided tour
Location: De ontdekfabriek, Eindhoven
Speakers: Hugo Vrijdag, Director Ontdekfabriek | Caroline Hummels, Professor Design and theory for transformative qualities at TU/e
The Ontdekfabriek lets children discover, create and present their fascination for technology. Caroline Hummels will talk about the influence that technology has on society. Not only on micro-level (domestic science), but also on a macro-level (big data, infrastructure). What does that mean for the way we design? During a hands-on encounter, we will envision what the future can be at the cross-section of expertise.
Speaker: Bob Hutten, Director Hutten
Hutten is a company that specializes in catering and hospitality services. With their Hutten Waste Plant (Verspillingsfabriek) they provide new solutions for large scale food waste. During a creative lunch, Bob Hutten shares his story with us.
Presentation, guided tour
Location: Vanderlande, Veghel
Speaker: Herman Molenaar, CFO Vanderlande
Vanderlandeis the global market leader in baggage handling systems for airports, and sorting systems for parcel and postal services. Innovation is essential for Vanderlande to supply the specific solutions required by its customers. We get to see Vanderlande's R&D department, where 200 people work on developing new hardware and software.
Location: Het Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch
To mark the 500th year since his death, Het Noordbrabants Museum presents the exhibition, ‘Jheronimus Bosch - Visions of genius’. For one time only, the majority of Jheronimus Bosch' work will return to the city where it was created. The large number of works on loan offers visitors the unique opportunity to study Jheronimus Bosch’s revolutionary and literally fantastic, artistic language.
Meeting creatives, entrepreneurs, policy makers and scientists from the Brabant DC network in an informal and creative setting.
Presentation, guided tour, site visit
Location: Efteling, Kaatsheuvel
Speaker: Olaf Vugts, Director Imagineering
With 4 million visitors a year, Efteling is the most popular day trip in the Netherlands and one of Europe's leading theme parks. How does Efteling use imagination and story telling? How do they implement creativity and imagination? Olaf Vugt will tell us all about that.
Presentation, guided tour
Location: TextielMuseum, Tilburg
Speaker: Errol van de Werdt, Director TextielMuseum
Discover a historical site that has been occupied by textile factories for 100 years. The restored factory buildings plus the modern entrancebuilding added in 2008, now house the TextielMuseum and TextielLab. The TextielLab at the TextielMuseum is a unique knowledge centre, combining a specialised workshop for the manufacture of unique fabrics and an open studio where innovation is central. National and international designers, architects, artists and promising students are guided by product developers and technical experts, and so discover the endless possibilities of yarn, computer-controlled techniques and craftsmanship.
Location: railway zone, Tilburg
The five biggest towns in the province of Noord-Brabant are on the verge of redeveloping their railway zones. The Tilburg railway zone is a large (55-hectare) elongated area running through the city centre. Tilburg’s aim in redeveloping the railway zone is to achieve a unique blend of knowledge, culture, leisure, sustainability, and cutting-edge mixed-use development, a whole meant to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Location: Railway zone, Tilburg
Speakers: Lilya Terzieva, lecturer NHTV University of Applied Sciences | Jeroen van Hoek, Board member City of Imagineers | Rob Adams, Living Lab
During our stay in the Tilburg railway zone we will learn more about imagineering. The Imagineering Academy (NHTV/Academy for Leisure) engages in ‘collaborative research’ with the industry. Next to their research projects they work with several industries and sectors such as the tourism and leisure industry, the health care sector, the educational sector and the sector of social change and community development.
City of Imagineers is de first organisation in Breda that brings the industry of image to a higher level. Image and imagination is what it is all about. City of Imagineers develops an innovative and (inter)national impact for the city of Breda. By collaboration, empowerment and knowledge sharing they build a strong sector that creates new job opportunities.
To conclude the afternoon the Young Ambassadors will present the results of the Living Lab they started at the beginning of the Reverse Mission.
Green Chemistry Campus - Bergen op Zoom
The Green Chemistry Campus, on the premises of SABIC Innovative Plastics in Bergen op Zoom, is a business accelerator for developing biobased chemical building blocks for the chemical industry. The Campus enhances the success rate of biobased entrepreneurs and thus contributes to the realisation of a biobased economy.
B2B entrepreneurs − both large companies and SMEs, knowledge institutions, and the government work closely together in an open innovation environment to develop new biobased technologies and products with a focus on performance materials, chemicals and coatings. Through the valorisation of residual flows from the agricultural and food sector, the Campus actively contributes to a sustainable and profitable biobased economy with less dependence on fossil fuels, without competing with food supplies.
EKWC - Oisterwijk
Sundaymorning@ekwc is an international workplace where artists, designers and architects explore the technical and artistic possibilities of ceramics.
Innovation has long been the buzzword in the creative industries. Research & Development fades into the background and is gradually replaced by Art & Development. Artists and designers discuss questions of both society and business, sometimes product oriented, sometimes aimed at solving a social problem.
Within Sundaymorning@ekwc these challenges are more than welcome. Prototypes, creative solutions, craft innovation – anyone looking for a ceramic answer can come to Sundaymorning@ekwc. Find out more about their facilities or about a doing a residency within their centre. Work with them as a business or school.
SLEM - Waalwijk
SLEM is an international innovation and education institute for footwear. The name is an acronym that stands for Shoes, Leather, Education, Museum. SLEM provides a unique full-time Master program for Footwear Innovators and a wide range of short courses and workshops for both students and professionals.
Their programs are all based on the synergy of four main pillars: forecasting, design, technology and business. The forecasting and business programs are suitable for other kinds of industries as well, such as leather goods, fashion and industrial design.
SLEM's trend lab is at the heart of all activities; the continual research and analysis assure that all programs always offer the very latest information, presented by visionary experts from the field. SLEM also provides trend information and consulting to customers around the world, through custom made projects and (online) SLEMinars.
SLEM's headquarters are based in Waalwijk, in the south of the Netherlands, but they also have branches and affiliates in New York, China and Italy
SPARK - Rosmalen
Pivot Park - Oss
Pivot Park is the pivot in a flourishing network of companies and knowledge institutions involved, either directly or indirectly, in innovative life sciences research. Pivot Park provides an optimal infrastructure, state-of-the-art facilities and a wealth of knowledge and experience
From Friday 22 until Sunday 24 April the Eindhoven University of Technology campus will be transformed into a festival terrain as the university celebrates its sixtieth birthday. Technology, innovation, music, art, debate, science and a highly varied food line-up will turn the campus into a living landscape where young and old, students and staff, locals and non-locals get together.
The Reverse Mission Brabant took place from 19 to 22 April 2016 and is now closed for registrations.
Have a look at the Districts of Creativity Network colleagues who joined the Reverse Mission 2016 to Brabant.
Brabant is easy to reach via one of the Dutch international airports: Amsterdam Schiphol, Eindhoven or Rotterdam. Travelling via Weeze Airport (Germany) is also an option – the airport provides a shuttle bus connection from Weeze to Eindhoven. Please find the location of the four airports on the map below.