A plain text version of the speech can be found here.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Royal Highness Constantijn van Oranje, welcome.
I have a question for our American guests: have you ever heard of the Dutch city, Almere? It’s not one of our medieval cities, but was founded only 40 years ago, 20 minutes east of Amsterdam. Now, it has some 200.000 residents. I don’t blame you if you don’t know Almere. It is not world famous. Not yet, that is.
From the beginning of this year, Almere will be home to the first ReGen Village: a small, self-sustaining residential community. There, waste becomes fertilizer for new food, rainwater is re-used in the farms and gardens, and on-site solar panels power the homes.
The CEO of ReGen, professor James Ehrlich, is here with us today. Asked about the significance of his company’s name, he once said: “Regenerative means systems where the output of one system can actually be the input of another.”
If you think about it, that aspect of “output becoming input” applies to this university as well. Stanford is a knowledge institute of extraordinary quality. Its bright minds have been the input of countless successful startups and companies.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have gathered here today to learn from each other about how we can make the most of our exponential technologies: technologies that double in power and halve in costs every year. Think about robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.
The participants of this summit form an impressive list. Professor James Ehrlich, who I mentioned already, once said that his ambition for ReGen Villages was that it would become “the Tesla of Eco-Villages.”
Tesla is an institute. That’s why I am happy to announce that Diarmuid O’Connell of Tesla will be speaking to us about how companies implement new technologies into their products, and how exponential technologies will change the world.
Many others have come with me to this summit from the Netherlands: researchers and entrepreneurs. They’ve come not only to listen and learn, but to show you what we have to offer.
The European Commission has ranked the Netherlands as one of Europe’s innovation leaders. The Dutch are frontrunners in some promising exponential techniques. Take, for example, integrated photonics. A new kind of chip that works with light. My government has invested in this technique for the past 15 to 20 years.
In the coming years we expect integrated photonics to become the new platform technology and enabler for countless technologies, innovations and new developments. Also for the technology themes present here today, like robotics, smart mobility, the energy transition and many more. I’m sure that Diarmuid O’Connell will elaborate on these subjects in his presentation.
The Dutch are not just experts in integrated photonics; we are also skilled at providing an excellent business climate for startups. In 2015, big companies like KPN and Microsoft Netherlands invested 265 million dollars in Dutch startups. And as of next year, the government will be giving 50 million dollars every year to boost startup growth.
Especially for tech startups, the Netherlands has fertile soil in which they can plant their products, acquire talent and raise capital.
Our favourable business climate is strengthened even further by StartupDelta, an organization that aims to make the Netherlands the most connected and largest ecosystem for startups in Europe. In many ways, they take away barriers facing entrepreneurs by, for example, introducing a special startup visa for entrepreneurs. And by creating an online tool about public sector support programs that can help them grow.
StartupDelta’s Special Envoy, Constantijn van Oranje, is with us here as well. Feel free to speak to him to learn more about the excellent Dutch startup climate.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for having us here. All Dutch participants here would love to share their knowledge with their American peers during the breakout sessions and the network lunch.
But first of all, you will hear about Stanford and its place in Silicon Valley from Senior Associate Dean Margot Gerritsen – one of the Dutch scientists we are proud of.
We look forward to being part of this startup system that connects us all. Let us make the best use of each other’s input.