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17 juni Economic Board Zuid-Holland visited NL Space Campus: ‘Time to come up with ambitious vision for Dutch space and invest’

29 juni 2022

On 17 June, the Economic Board Zuid-Holland visited the NL Space Campus in Noordwijk throughout the day. Space is a flourishing sector for the region and therefore one of the key points in the Growth Agenda Zuid-Holland. After a whole day in Noordwijk meeting key players, visiting ESA ESTEC and getting in contact with start-ups in SBIC, the Economic Board shares the space sector's concern: a long-term vision is needed from the government, as well as extra budget for the further development of space in the Netherlands as well as for the Space Campus development. 

Vertaling van artikel van EBZ: https://www.economicboardzuidholland.nl/kabinet-kom-met-ambitieuze-visie-op-nederlandse-ruimtevaart-en-investeer/

The Economic Board started their full day at NL Space Campus at ESA ESTEC including a guided tour of the test centre and presentations of and discussions with Torben Henriksen of ESA ESTEC, Harm van de Wetering of NSO and Esther Peters of NL Space Campus. In the afternoon they visited the Space Business Innovation Centre at NL Space Campus where start-ups (SmartQuare, Marmoris, Meteory, HDES) pitched their ideas and the board could get in contact and network with NL Space Campus’ initiatives such as GNSS CoE, AVATAR and Groundstation Dotspace and partners like SpaceNed, NSO and LDE universities. Good to see the genuine interest and involvement of the Economic Board Zuid-Holland and how these important board members (mostly working in non space) has met space this day. 


80% of the space activities in the Netherlands take place in Zuid-Holland and especially in Noordwijk, Leiden, Delft and The Hague. Jaap Smit, Queen's Commissioner for Zuid-Holland and chairman of the Economic Board: 'ESA-ESTEC in Noordwijk, with all its innovative power, is attracting more and more companies, and a complete space cluster is developing here. The expected growth is enormous, which is why the province is also investing heavily in strengthening the cluster'.


Investments in NL Space Campus

Together with the municipality of Noordwijk, the province is supporting the development of NL Space Campus. NL Space Campus creates a place for open innovation where the presence of ESA-ESTEC is even more strongly linked to the three universities in Zuid-Holland and the space ecosystem of the Netherlands. In addition to the substantive development of the campus, the investments also involve the further development of the physical environment of the campus.


The Economic Board Zuid-Holland is challenging the Dutch government to be much more active and to co-invest in this campus development. And the board also shared their major concerns about the national space budget. This is crucial for the further development of this sector with a great deal of potential, as well as for the innovative power that space can offer other sectors.


National Agenda for Space

In 2021, the space sector in the Netherlands, supported by Zuid-Holland, Noordwijk, Leiden and Delft, published the National Agenda for Space. So far, the national government has paid little heed to it. The agenda calls for a national long-term vision on space, an ambitious programme and corresponding investments. Only in this way can the Netherlands maintain its strong economic position in this sector and realise innovations that are necessary for a sustainable future for us all.


Strategic autonomy

The current war in Ukraine makes independent access to space from Europe more important than ever. This access is needed to launch satellites for navigation, laser-satellite communication and earth observation. This can contribute to societal challenges in the field of security, communication, climate, emission monitoring and precision agriculture. It is necessary for the Netherlands to continue to be fully committed to this independent access to space and thus to the strategic autonomy of Europe.


Leader in emission data

Secure satellite communication and emission monitoring are developments that offer great opportunities for Dutch space. Many countries, including the Netherlands, are striving to achieve a zero emission society in 2050. Space makes that possible. Dutch space technology provides a daily picture of the air quality at any place on earth. Measuring is knowing. 25% of emissions worldwide are not accounted for. In the Netherlands, there is an entire chain from science to industry that can supply emission data and has a great deal of experience in this. Our country can take a leading position in the emerging global market for emission data.


Desired national support

Knowledge and opportunities therefore abound. What is needed is an ambitious long term space vision from the Netherlands, with a scope that is broader than the three-yearly ESA cycle. The space sector demands: 


  • A long term space vision from the Dutch government 
  • An interdepartmental approach (Defence, I&W, OCW, EZK) that is both European and national in focus. 
  • Additional investments in the sector:
  • Governance of space policy at a higher ministerial level and a strong Netherlands Space Office (NSA)
  • Space campus development as part of this long-term vision, including contributions from the Dutch government. 
  • At least €50 million per year (at GNP level)
  • Matching opportunities that exist with the National Growth Fund, the Climate Fund, budgets from Defence, etc.
  • The Dutch space budget has been declining for years, despite an increase in total ESA investments and inflation

The Economic Board of Zuid-Holland supports this call from the space sector and had indicated 17 June that it would like to make an effort in this regard towards the Central Government. 

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