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The line at the ice cream is as long as the one at Oxboard Square. But the soccer robots and VR goggles at VisitU also get a lot of interest. Just like the more specific medical components of the Maxima Medical Centre (perform an operation yourself!) and the 3D printers from ASML. These are just some of the dozens of activities neighbours ASML and MMC have brought together as part of the High Tech Discovery Route.

Children are the first target for the five clusters where the Discovery Route is organised today. But their parents are enjoying themselves at least as much, as is seen at all high-tech areas that have put the doors wide open today. For one day everyone gets access to the field of the real technology specialists. It’s the final day of the Dutch Technology Week, the sun is shining and everyone enjoys.



Complete families strolling through ASML Plaza, where MMC and ASML show off together for this one day. In a joint exhibition the themes “tell”, “do” and “discover” offer all possible diversity. ‘Discover’ was already sold out even before the day really started, one after the other group makes tours through hospital and ASML labs. The lectures – even the ones for children – are well attended, but the ‘do’-activities turn out to be favourite. The children make their own electric motor, racing car or robot. And then quickly to the blood test and the 3D printer. So much to do!


A few kilometers further south, KempenTech, a cluster of high tech companies in and around Hapert, has built a large tent on the site next to Diffutherm. A wide collection of regional manufacturing companies show what they have to offer. Many large machines, but also enough here to get the kids into action. VDL has a miniature parking place where minis are to be put in the right place with a crane. A delicate operation in which not everyone succeeds. The story behind KempenTech: Together we’ve built what’s really needed for the things we need every day.

High Tech Helmond / De Peel

At AAE bv in Helmond everyone is welcomed by a NAO robot. Inside all the attention goes to the highlights of the mechatronics, metal, food and textile industries and the stands of the ministry of defense. Again, it’s the hands-on activities that get all the attention. Doing a taste test, or flying a jet plane in the flight simulator – so many choices, and all are attractive.

Helmond aae Elly Blanksma


Automotive Campus

Just steps away from AAE is the center of the smart mobility, the Automotive Campus. Today, the stands are full for a historic spectacle: the GCDC, a contest for autonomous cars. The mission today: to merge into another lane, smoothly between the other cars. The audience senses it is witnessing something special. But there’s much more. A real F16 is parked in front of the buildings and just about all the acclaimed cars and motorcycles of the TU/e student teams can be admired: Stella Lux, STORM, FAST.

helmond gcdc 3


At Strijp-S, both the Ontdekfabriek and many businesses in the area have opened up their doors. It provides a colourful mix of activities and glimpses-in-the-kitchen. As was the case at ASML, children can get themselves photographed in a cleanroom bunny suit. Meanwhile outside, one after the other tries to “be like Max” on the seat of a Formula 3 car. The workshops at various companies are doing well and the battle to build the fastest wind car is on its way.

When the last tech hub closes its doors, the evening falls. The participants, tired after a full day of High Tech Discovery Route at the end of an already jam-packed Dutch Technology Week, can now only hope for results. What this week brought anyway, is that the high tech manufacturing industry has once more put itself in the spotlights. But they know it’s the long breath that counts. In the coming months – and years – they will find out whether all this will lead to an influx of new high tech colleagues at all those companies where they are needed so much.

More pictures at the bottom of the dutch article