“Space travel is the new economy: double the Dutch investment!”

“Space travel is closer than you think” says Jaap Smit, the King's Commissioner in the Province of Zuid-Holland during the ’Space Continuum’ event. “Next to Toulouse and Bremen, Zuid-Holland is one of the most important space industry clusters in Europe, which we must cherish and allow to flourish.”

Jeroen Rotteveel, chairman of the SpaceNed sector organisation, adds: “We have everything in-house to profit from the new economy in the international space industry. I call on the Dutch politicians to double the Dutch subscription to the ESA optional technology programmes to a minimum of EUR 200 million.”

Space Continuum

During the ‘Space Continuum’ event, SpaceNed and the Province of Zuid-Holland brought the Dutch space - eco-system together. Entrepreneurs, representatives of knowledge institutions, space industry users, policy makers, and national and regional authorities as well as managers gathered in Nieuwspoort. They discussed the need and necessity of space travel, technology, and the data and signals with which satellites ensure that we can communicate, monitor the earth and the atmosphere, and with which we can determine an exact position and time anywhere on earth.

Strategic infrastructure

During talks at various tables, the importance of the infrastructure in space was stressed, for instance, for economic activities on earth as well as for social challenges in the field of climate and food security. The strategic need for an autonomous European space-infrastructure was also discussed, and the possibility to launch one. Space travel is also essential to the defence and safety domain. Guaranteeing our safety is unthinkable without satellite communication, positioning and intelligence from space.

Call on the politicians

Many participants followed the space industry debate in the House of Representatives on 5 September. They noted that the coalition parties mentioned the urgency of closing the 'gap’ between the available budget (EUR 131.5 million) and the necessary tender of EUR 200 million. Jeroen Rotteveel of SpaceNed stressed the critical situation for the Dutch space industry: “In November, during the ESA Ministers’ conference, the Netherlands will have to subscribe for the coming three years. An insufficient subscription now means a loss of Dutch positions, a loss of subsequent assignments of the European Committee, and missing out on production possibilities of technology developed in the Netherlands. A subscription of EUR 200 million (twice as much as the subscription in 2016) is necessary for our Dutch positions. The subscription of other countries, such as Belgium, is much higher. In addition, other ESA member states are expected to subscribe EUR 2-4 billion compared to 2016.  With Jaap Smit he urgently appealed the MPs to find a solution to the dire situation of our space industry, in anticipation of the expected future investments in the new economy by our government.”

Budget Day Festival

Space Continuum was organised in the framework of the Budget Day Festival, of which this year, the Province of Zuid-Holland is a strategic partner. During the week from 9 - 17 September various events have been organised on the theme: ‘From A to Zuid-Holland’, to showcase the multi-faceted nature of the province.