Topsector Water & Maritime: Smart Holland



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Water & Maritime is one of the nine national ‘Topsectors’ in The Netherlands. These topsectors are selected on the basis of their value creation and export potential. They are driven by industry, science and government, and are active in the fields of innovation and international business. I represent the maritime sector in the international committee, and my passion is to share the innovative power of The Netherlands with the world.


Through the Topsector, The Netherlands have selected a number of strategic international tradeshows. Where we expose and share our knowledge with foreign partners. One of them is SMM Hamburg. The support results in a interesting program, and a sizeable Dutch collective presentation at the show. On Wednesday the 5th of September, the Dutch industry is even more in the limelight. The theme will be ‘Smart Holland Day’. Highlights are the Smart Holland Hunt, Smart Maintenance Business lunch and the Smart Holland reception on board HMS Van Amstel.

Smart shipping is one of the cornerstones of our innovation policy. Our Transport Minister Mrs. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen recently opened a special desk for smart shipping solutions. She announced to stimulate experiments with new technology, within the territorial waters of our country. Other examples are the smart maintenance project SMASH and more recently the Damen led European shipbuilding project NAVAIS.

Smart to us means more than merely introducing ICT and automation technology in the sector. It is a way of working or maybe even a state of mind. It means that we try to utilize formerly competitive relationships and work together on special themes or projects. Smart shipping also means that we redefine shipbuilding processes and create spectacular new designs in superyachts, sustainable fish farming, cruise shipping or subsea operations. And it means making a profitable business in the high end, where others hold on to conventional solutions.

During the Smart Maintenance Business Lunch on September 5th, we will focus on the next steps in asset maintenance. Where we also try to operate from an innovative angle. New solutions will be presented, but the central question will be how to incorporate smart maintenance in real business models. The Rotterdam-Drecht Cities region will also present their new promotion campaign here. Although many Dutch professionals will attend the festivities, our goal is to share information and make new, smart connections with everybody who is prepared to be unconventional in the huge social network we live in today.

September 5th will be a perfect day for business. It makes me think of my favorite singer Lou Reed, who wrote ‘Perfect Day’ in the early seventies, the most beautiful song ever made. It was part of the album Transformers. And transformation is still what we want fourty years later. Smart guy.

Martin Bloem
Vice chair international affairs, Topsector Water & Maritime
Partner at Marstrat BV