Toespraak van staatssecretaris Keijzer bij het staatsbezoek van president Halimah Yacob van Singapor

Toespraak van staatssecretaris Keijzer (EZK) bij het staatsbezoek van president Halimah Yacob van Singapore. In Brainport Eindhoven, op 23 november 2018. De tekst is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Madam President, ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a great pleasure to see you all here at the Brainport Eindhoven campus. It’s not every day that I have the chance to welcome the President of Singapore to what the Intelligent Community Forum called ‘the smartest region in the world’. The combined IQ per square metre is higher here than anywhere else in the Netherlands.

This is where startups, SMEs and large businesses find solutions to the challenges our society is facing. They work together with government and knowledge institutions in triple helix partnerships. An approach we’ll be talking more about later today. During his visit to the Netherlands earlier this year, your Minister of Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat[1], hailed this model as an example for Singapore.

I’m pleased that so many visits take place between the Netherlands and Singapore. We’re more similar than one might think, looking at the 13,300 kilometres that separate us.

Our countries are both relatively small. With open economies and a good business climate. We serve as gateways to Asia and Europe for businesses and knowledge institutions.

Ageing populations and pressure on labour productivity challenge us both. And we both seek to tackle these issues and others through innovation. Because we’re aware that the challenges of tomorrow cannot be solved with the technology of today.

I’m pleased that our countries already work together closely on innovation:

Each year many missions take place to and from Singapore around themes like robotics, the circular economy, healthy ageing and smart mobility.

Singapore and the Netherlands are both at the forefront of developing and adopting driverless car technology. Nanyang Technological University and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) are working together to develop a safe way of introducing autonomous vehicles in cities.

In the field of cybersecurity the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore work together to protect critical infrastructure.

I believe we have a lot to offer each other and can learn a lot from each other. I’m proud to be saying this to you here. This region is a hotspot for innovation that attracts talented young people from around the world. Its knowledge-intensive manufacturing industry and its driving role in the Dutch hightech sector make it an economic hotspot too.

I’d like to give you an insight into the Brainport’s success. Nowhere in the Netherlands is private sector investment in research & development higher than here. The Ministry of Economic Affairs invests here too. Through our top sector policy we promote research and innovation. A number of prominent businesses and knowledge institutions in the Brainport region have combined their knowledge, brainpower and resources to develop innovative new products and processes. A large portion of my ministry’s innovation funding also goes to the Brainport region.

At the same time, we’re keenly following Singapore’s achievements in digitalisation. While many other countries are focusing on smart cities, you are striving to be the first smart nation. We can learn a lot from your successes, in the field of cybersecurity for instance.

Our 2 countries top the lists of the world’s most innovative economies. It’s gratifying to jointly lead the way with you. But we won’t automatically keep that position. Leading the way means we have to keep moving forward.

That’s why I’m pleased that yesterday our 2 countries signed an MoU on innovation and the economy. It will serve as a firm basis for even closer cooperation between Singapore and the Netherlands in the future.

I’d like to wish you all an inspiring day that broadens your ­and our horizons.

Thank you.

[1] Uitspraak: “Heng Swie Kiët”