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One of the hotspots on the High Tech Ontdekkingsroute can be found in Helmond. On the 28th of May, over 35 companies and schools will fill the offices of AAE. Their goal is to gather as a collective and show the people that the seemingly complicated world of hightech is not that complex at all. And that the image of the sector should not have to be one of greasy fingers and dusty floors.

dtwE52 publishes a series of articles in preparation for the Dutch Technology Week (23-29 May). This is the sixteenth part. Here the earlier parts.


“You could practically eat of the floor”, Manon Pijnenburg says. In AAE’s name she is involved in organising the High Tech Ontdekkingsroute. Which originates from the first edition of Dutch Technology Week (DTW), five years ago.  “We have been a partner of DTW for the past five years. For the first two, we were in-house with some of the other hotspots in the region. The last three years we decided to set up our own hotspot, here at AAE.”

There will be a Fomula-E car. It should not be a surprise if a couple of dads will get equally excited as their kids.”

AAE  wil ingewikkelde techniek toegankelijk maken voor de jeugd.
AAE wil ingewikkelde techniek toegankelijk maken voor de jeugd.

According to Pijnenburg the hotspot is hosted by AAE because the company is an important name in the field of hightech in the region.. “However, that does not mean it is just our event. AAE’s logo is on the roof, sure, but we want to emphasize that the event is about the collaborating partners that make up the room on the 28th.”

“We are always looking for ways to expand and innovate our contribution to the ‘ontdekkingsroute.’ Therefore, this year for the first time, we have invited companies from all over the Peel-region. Also, we have added the textile branch to our program.  A next step could be that the event will be moved to a different location, with one of the other companies per example. I think it is important to keep the event in-house with one of the companies. We could move it to one of the bigger halls in the region, but we want to keep it as close to the working environment as possible. We would not want it to become a fair of sorts.”

De hotspot werd vorig jaar goed bezocht.
De hotspot werd vorig jaar goed bezocht.

And so -at least this year still- the Hotspot Hightech Helmond-de Peel will be housed at AAE. Where the clean room is shown to the public and visitors can partake in activities that are linked to different branches: mechatronics, metal, textile, food and military.

“We think interaction is important. Visitors can design and press their own t-shirts, work with technical Lego, and work with a 3d-Printer. This way we hope to attract young people to the hightech-sector.  Even though this group will not have to make a career decision in the next few years. We would still like to put the idea of a career in hightech somewhere in their heads.”

“In high school in particular, a lot of work is already done to attract students to hightech, but there still is some work to be done. During last years Ontdekkingsroute we gave a tour to primary and high school teachers. They were amazed with the possibillities we had to offer. We think this could be represented in the education of children and young students even better.”

In that representation, there’s also a place for older students and parents. “There will be a flight simulator, a game of football with robots and there will be a Fomula-E car. It should not be a surprise if a couple of dads will get equally excited as their kids.”

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