Space Campus is on its way

 Space Campus is on its way

Noordwijk 2 November 2020 – The industrial estate near ESA-ESTEC in Noordwijk, which has been vacant for years, is being transformed into NL Space Campus. The aim is to start this transformation in January. It is expected that it will take several years before the campus will be completed.

The construction of a main building with central facilities is necessary in order to encourage current and future space-related companies to fully benefit from collaborating. The council wants to make 1.4 million euros available for this. The remaining 3.6 million comes from the province of South Holland.

The investment will not meet with many political objections. After all, in 2018 Noordwijk, together with the province of South Holland and the national government, has already signed the so-called Regional Deal. In addition, 26 million euros has been set aside for the development of the space industry in the coastal municipality.

The state is contributing 16 million euros to an international meeting center at ESA-ESTEC, and the 8 million from the province and 3 million from the municipality are intended to stimulate the development of NL Space Campus on the adjacent business park.

This regional deal should contribute to improving the competitive position of the Dutch space sector. Several member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) have hinted in the past that they would like to house the test and research center ESTEC.

In addition to ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk already has solid pillars in the area near the municipal boundary with Katwijk, with the Galileo Reference Center (the European counterpart of GPS), the SBIC business centre and the Space Expo museum. NL Space Campus should eventually develop into the national meeting place for the international space sector.

This creates a central place where entrepreneurs, researchers, educational and government institutions can meet and share knowledge. Noordwijk wants to focus mainly on innovation, space startup companies and successful existing companies that want to expand.

In order to develop into a campus in the coming years, a lot needs to be done. For example, fast public transport is needed to improve accessibility. The area must be designed with walkways and sports and games elements that contribute to the employees easily connecting with each other. In addition, new work spaces will be created and a good connection between the business park and campus with ESA-ESTEC will be required.

The main building with restaurant and work and meeting areas should form the heart of the campus. The council is now asking for an amount of 1.4 million euros to be made available for this. Who ultimately becomes the owner of the main building is still to be determined, but it won’t be just the government. The business community may be responsible, or a combination of a market party and the government. About thirty larger and smaller companies have now joined the development of NL Space Campus.

Translated from original article in Dutch, published by Leidsch Dagblad on 2 November 2020.

Remco Timmermans

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