Noordwijk, 6 July 2020 – Space Campus Noordwijk should be realised within two years. The empty field on the Huygensstraat will be filled with a main building, a shared workshop for innovators and developers – a so-called Fab Lab – a meeting space and a restaurant.
“We want to lay a foundation this year, add value next year and harvest after that”, a timetable laid out by Esther Peters, managing director of Space Campus Noordwijk, in a presentation to local councillors. With research and test centre ESTEC within its administrative boundaries, Noordwijk aims to grow into the Dutch hub for Europan space technology.
Due to the limited Dutch contribution to ESA, other member states were explicitly looking at attracting ESTEC. The regional deal, agreed a few years ago, among other initiatives, marks an important step towards keeping ESTEC in the Netherlands. This regional deal comprises the national government (15 million), the province of South Holland (9 million) and the Noordwijk council (3 million) in a 27 million euro package for building an international meeting space at ESTEC.
But developments are happening outside the ESA campus gates too. “We have been talking about further monetising the presence of ESTEC”, says Peters. The development of the open grounds on the Huygensstraat plays an important role in this matter. Peters not only considers options within the limits of the coastal municipality, but also sees good opportunities in collaborating with universities in Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden, and a wide range of technology companies.
Together with ESTEC and the Galileo Reference Centre, the empty grounds should form the physical space heart of Noordwijk. The establishment of a Space Experience Centre, in which the current Space Expo museum would be housed, has been discussed for some time. Within two years the presently empty grounds should be converted into the meeting place for the space sector. There will be pathways, ponds, an event space, parking places and plenty of working space.
“We will need to make a good selection of which companies we do and don’t want to facilitate here” says Peters. In Noordwijk people are primarily interested in organisations that consider the development of the campus as a joint mission. “So companies that will actively contribute to the campus by opening their labs to others or sharing knowledge.”
Noordwijk already has its fair share of startups, but their efficiency leaves room for improvement, says the Space Campus director. In comparison Harwell Campus in England shows much better results. Thirty percent of companies that started there over time, are still based there. In Noordwijk there are only four companies. Once the grounds in Noordwijk have been developed, to which the local council will still need to contribute an unknown amount, it will be the moment to remove the fences around ESTEC, creating a single large space for space.
Translated from Leidsch Dagblad, published in Dutch by Peter van der Hulst on 6 July 2020: https://www.leidschdagblad.nl/cnt/dmf20200706_31255629/ontwikkeling-space-campus-noordwijk-in-een-stroomversnelling.