inspiratie Gepubliceerd op 28 juli 2020

Innovative partnerships in Belgium and The Netherlands

On the 9th of July the webinar ‘Smart Mobility: Innovative partnerships in Belgium and The Netherlands’ took place, which was co-organised by Agoria, FME, the Dutch Consulate General in Antwerp, The Netherlands Enterprise Agency and NLinBusiness. The reason to organise this webinar was to follow up on the Dutch trade mission to Belgium last January led by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag and also to inspire entrepreneurs to participate in the upcoming digital trade mission in September 2020. 

This article is also available in Dutch

The webinar covered the opportunities of smart mobility in both the Netherlands and in Belgium. Firstly, the floor was opened by Aafke MakBusiness Development Manager International Business of FME and Jean-Marc TimmermansBusiness Group Leader Manufacturing of AgoriaSubsequentlyTom De Pryck and Bart Lowyck of Mobilidata discussed the Flemish mobility project, followed by Wim Vandenberghe of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management who delved deeper into the traffic and innovative tendering. Lastly, Bert van der Lingen, Consul General of the Consulate of the Netherlands in Antwerp, stated how a long-term Dutch-Belgian cooperation can be satisfied. Curious about the future of mobility? Read all about it in this summary! 

Mobilidata: a raft of innovative mobility solutions 

Urbanisation increases in densely populated cities, but due to a lack of space in most cities, the infrastructure for roads cannot be expanded. As a result, traffic jams increase, which not only takes away valuable time and leaves road users feeling frustrated, but also causes pollution and a negative impact on our air quality. This is where Mobilidata comes in; Tom De Pryck and Bart Lowyck of Mobilidata explain that its core mission is to positively contribute to road safety, traffic throughput and emissions in Flanders by creating innovative traffic solutions that contribute to making traffic flows more smoothly, more sustainably and more safely for every road user. 

Mobilidata is a program established by the Flemish government with the goal of improving the situation on Flemish roads. To do so requires a great deal of expertise and close collaboration. That is why numerous Flemish government institutions and private parties are closely working together to provide road-users with real-time information and help them on their journeys to make efficient mobility choices. Mobilidata always seeks partners with the knowledge and expertise to successfully generate, manage and share smart data. Therefore, not only Flemish expertise is used for the project but Mobilidata is also collaborating with similar European initiatives to continuously develop smart mobility. One of these projects is the Dutch 'Talking Traffic project, which Wim Vandenberghe will further explain. 

How do we Talk Traffic? 

In the Partnership ‘Talking Traffic’ the Dutch authorities and business community join forces to improve everyday traffic and beat societal challenges such as traffic jams, which are predicted to increase by 38% in 2021 and even double in cities. The joint co-investment program seeks to improve the availability of intelligent data for a wide group of road users. In this way, the safety and sustainability of traffic and transport can be enhanced resulting in reduced travel times and ultimately less public spending.  

Talking Traffic welcomes all companies, knowledge institutions and regional government to join the Partnership. The goal of this connection is to create synergy between participating partners in order to generate more knowledge and better solutions. More than 30 parties, both Belgian and Dutch, have now joined the project, ranging from the largest suppliers of telecommunication and IT services to start-ups that are disrupting the market with bold ideas. 

Smart cities  

Talking Traffic is part of the larger Smart Cities initiative, which aims to further improve quality of life within cities through collaboration in the quadruple helix (government, business, science and citizens). With the Smart City Strategy it is possible to work in a solution-oriented way on today’s problems and the future’s challenges. In doing so, there is a great demand for more efficient (data) infrastructure and better accessibility. Wim Vandenberghe stresses that data is where the opportunities lie for Dutch entrepreneurs. "If you have services that use traffic data as an input, such as traffic light data, accident data and parking information, but you feel hampered by the existing open data; talking traffic is working towards a solution." Wim encourages entrepreneurs to provide input where such quality issues lie. Additionally, he stresses that there are many opportunities in the Netherlands for data and data collection. All the existing public Dutch innovation investments revolve around data, so there will be many opportunities in the future.  

Read more about the Dutch Smart City strategy here 

The benefits of a bilateral relationship  

Bert van der Lingen, Consul General of the Consulate of the Netherlands in Antwerp stresses that there are three sectors in which Dutch and Flemish collaboration is highly productive; chemical industry, energy transitions such as offshore wind, and the transport and logistics sector. It is important to learn from each other and therefore collaborate and work together with different partners, both in the public and private sector. The Consulate General, FME, Agoria and other partners are facilitating and working together to strengthen this bilateral collaboration 

Who can support me as an entrepreneur?  

The Netherlands-based FME and Belgium-based Agoria are sectoral employers’ organisations that mobilise and connect the technology industry and society to any question or challenge to which technology is the answer.  

Aafke Mak: "We aim to mobilize and connect the tech sector to meet the big societal challenges we face today”  

Jean-Marc Timmermans: “Agoria provides a pathway for all technologically inspired companies in Belgium that strive for progress based on the development or application of innovations”  

Smart mobility offers plenty of opportunity and requires us to prepare ourselves to the challenges of the future. The Belgian-Dutch cooperation is fruitful in producing high-level technological developments. This innovative partnership will be further explored during the digital trade mission on the 24th and 25th of September you can register until August 20. So be quick! 

Also interested in doing business in Belgium, check out our City page on Antwerp with all relevant information or schedule a call to speak to one of our experts.