Linking more knowledge from the Leiden educational establishments to businesses in the Katwijk district. This is one of the spearheads of Krijn van der Spijk, Councilor for the Katwijk District. He wants to make this a reality through Economie071.
Connected Through the Rhine
“Traditionally our agricultural region has mainly been connected with the bulb region, yet we form an economic region with Leiden. That is why Katwijk district has looked towards Leiden in recent years because Leiden is a thriving city.
The location on the water and roads determine our links with the Leiden region. The Rhine runs straight through Leiden and Katwijk, thereby forming a good connection. In the summer you can travel by boat from Katwijk to Leiden three times a day, and vice versa. It would be wonderful to develop these kinds of connections further.”
“Our plus points for the region are our good accessibility, our natural location on the coast, and our potential for water tourism and space, including the former airfield Valkenburg. In addition to housing, this area can be developed as a test location for new drone technologies: Unmanned Valley Valkenburg. This location lies centrally to the universities in Delft and Leiden, European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) and several drone technology businesses.
We are considering how and in what way the Drone Valley can be fitted into this area where we could potentially create an entire new business sector. Wind turbines in the North Sea all require maintenance. It would be ideal if a drone fitted with a camera could inspect the turbines. But there is much more possible with this technology. In America, drones are used to “drop” packages in remote areas.”
Space for Knowledge and Industry
“Our district has a strong background in cultivating flowers, which is a very different from the business of cultivating bulbs as in the Bulb Region. Flower auction house Flora Holland is huge in this region, with 3,000 jobs it forms the heart of the Rijnsburg business. There is also much knowledge and innovation in this industry. Together with the Bio Science Park we can look for interesting cross-overs. To encourage this, we have launched the Kennis koppelen aan Markt (linking knowledge to the market) project though Economie071; Councilor Klaas Jan van der Bent is the project leader. This does not just focus on high-skilled jobs, but also on employment across the broad base of the economy at MBO level and for suppliers.
Leiden has less space for new employment opportunities than Katwijk, so perhaps we could establish a number of businesses in our district in the future. There is plenty of space behind the Corpus on the Oegstgeest district land. The next step is to cross the Rhine to Katwijk.”
“Economie071 tackles regional challenges. We put our heads together for the regional retail vision to see how we could improve the shopping areas. A complicated task with varying interests from six districts and including all entrepreneurs from the shopping areas.
It was successful because we have a common goal: exploit opportunities together. We are the first region in the Zuid-Holland province to have adopted such a vision and to have opted for joint implementation. We have a solid vision. This also helps in making a stand against plans from Zoetermeer for opening a large outlet centre.”
Year Round Tourism
“We have some 300 expats in the Katwijk district, so we welcome another Economie071 project, that is the Expat Centre Leiden. ESTEC in Noordwijk is situated almost at the border of Katwijk, so the international employees also come to live in our district. Furthermore, many expats working in international organisations or companies in The Hague also live here.
We also find the Economie071 region marketing project a plus-point as it allows us to jointly highlight several tourism themes. Within Economie071 we also work together with the Noordwijk and Wassenaar districts. Our underground parking garage adjacent to the beach has meant that we have become yet more attractive to tourists.
We are now seeing more beach pavilions that remain open all year. This means that Katwijk has something to offer tourists through every season of the year. Leiden complements this nicely with its shops, museums and historical centre.”
“We have several companies within our district borders that work on innovation, such as Parlevliet & Van der Plas, the largest fishing company in the world. This list also includes the bakery business Van Maanen, the vegetable processing business Heemskerk and the previously mentioned horticultural businesses and traders. In particular, this last sector needs high level expertise, for example for effective cultivation methods, logistical issues and sustainable methods for crop control.
We have no institutions at HBO level or academic education in our district, so we are dependent on the knowledge institutions in Leiden. The University of Leiden, Hogeschool Leiden and the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre have a wide international network. HUBspot, the new centre for innovation and entrepreneurship also provides opportunities. In my view, it is a nice environment where entrepreneurs and researchers can be brought together. Perhaps in an informal way to start with. Spontaneous encounters often lead to special developments.”