Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken

Dutch Diplo Talk

Turkey innovation week Istanbul/Holland partner country

29 Feb 2016

Top -5’s: to be in the top of any of the globally comparative lists seems to be a (well hidden) objective of the Dutch. We might be known as to be an egalitarian society, where no one should stick his/her head above the ‘maaiveld’ (as then it will be cut off), but as a collective we are different; although being a small country no Calimero complex for us, on the contrary, we love to share our pride in having so many top rankings. We proudly tell the others that our children are, according to UNICEF, among the happiest in the world. Not that my sons agree, but at least UNICEF says so.

Yes, we aim to have the best Foreign Service, the best soccer team in the world (finals only though) and we Dutch wish to have the most innovative economy in the world. We are in the top 3 (meaning that we are 3rd ) in the field of nano science and nanotechnology. Not that we are the most innovative country in the world, but at least we are 4th. Not bad. Are we the most competitive economy in the world? No, but we are 5th, leaving almost 200 countries behind us.

At the press conference on November 13 about the Turkey innovation week Istanbul (where for the second year in a row the Netherlands is the exclusive partner) my remarks about soccer were well received. Yes, I know, we were ranked 3rd last year, but this year we are not even competing in the Euro Championship, partly as a sad result of our 3-0 defeat in Konya by Turkey. Not good for our ego of course, but…excellent for the Dutch Turkish relations.

As I said during the press conference: the Netherlands ranked 3rd in soccer globally, 4th in innovation and 5th in competitiveness. As for the time being our soccer glory days seem to be over, we have no choice but to concentrate on innovation and high tech. The Netherlands is just one of three countries (the US and Japan are the other two) that have the complete value chain of the semiconductor industry within its borders: from design, architecture and production to the production of machines that make chips. Concerning this last point: ASML, an offshoot of Philips, has 70% of the world’s production of chip producing machines.

Turkish Innovation
It is often said, but only creation of more added value will get Turkey out of the present middle income trap. Its ambitions are clear. Vision 2023 aims for a high tech and innovative economy, and consigns a crucial role to high tech. For this Turkey needs partners; the Netherlands is one of them.

We are here in Turkey for the long haul, aiming to connect knowledge institutions of both countries, to exchange students and to create new technologies together that can serve the needs of our societies. Just as we are in the top of foreign investors in Turkey and as the Netherlands is in the top destinations for Turkish foreign investors, we also wish to become a leading innovation partner for Turkey.

The Turkey innovation week Istanbul will take place this year from 3 to 5 December. As we should, we take our participation and partnership status very seriously. There will be a Dutch business and innovation delegation, a Dutch pavilion, 7 Dutch innovation speakers and the start of a Turkish Dutch innovation platform. Prince Maurits will deliver the keynote speech on December 3rd and will be present at several events. We will also showcase various Dutch innovations such as the Storm Pulse electric motorcycle, cinematic virtual reality content by Jaunt VR, a serious take on gaming by serious gaming company Monkeybizniz and Eco-motive Nova: the world’s first modular car.

Co-creating for the future, co-creating innovative solutions, think Holland, think Innovation; the innovation week in Turkey is all be about bringing together Turkish ambitions and Dutch expertise.

One final word about soccer: a Dutch university robot soccer team won the world championship 2015! And one last statistic: all the major awards of the World Solar Challenge, the solar powered car race in Australia,were won by Dutch teams this year. No surprise here as in our rainy country we have to be innovative as we always have to make the best out of the little sun we have.

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About the author

Robert Schuddeboom
Written by Robert Schuddeboom

Dutch Consul General in Istanbul

Irregularly I write about Turkey, a fascinating country.