On the grounds of the High Tech Campus Eindhoven (HTCE), which have been closed off to the public, King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and the princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane will be treated to a lavish dose of creativity and technology. From a virtual step into the future of healthcare to building hovercrafts, from a dance with Artificial Intelligence and drones to sim racing.
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The Dutch city of Eindhoven has gone hand in hand with technology for over a century. In 1891, engineer Gerard Philips decided to start a small factory there, in an empty textile factory on the Emmasingel. This would eventually prove to be the first step towards an international company, with products for lighting, healthcare and entertainment. Today, companies like ASML, DAF and VDL, as well as countless start-ups, student teams and knowledge institutes like the Eindhoven University of Technology, Fontys University of Applied Sciences and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) also brighten up the Brainport region with their innovations and cooperation.
Breeding ground for innovation
“It’s quite an honor that the High Tech Campus is the stage for this King’s Day,” comments Ingelou Stol, communications manager for the Campus. “Philips once came up with its innovations here. Nowadays, 235 high-tech companies are located here. It really is a breeding ground for innovations that make the world a better place. If it’s a primarily digital King’s Day, there is no better place to do it than here.”
There is a mainly an online program on account of the corona measures. Made up of, among other things, a national television broadcast of the visit and a parallel online broadcast from what is known as the Orange Room. A three-hour online program backstage. Stol will be presenting this program during King’s Day. In it, she delves deeper into the wonders and topics that the king will get to see.
From high-tech to the king’s clothes
“But there are also more light-hearted topics such as: How to eat a tompouce with Robèrt van Beckhoven. Or the clothing of the royal family with Addy van den Krommenacker. And there will be music too.” Dutch actor Mike Weerts is her ‘side kick’. No stranger to Stol, she and he previously made several videos for the PSV football club-Brainport partnership. She as an interviewer, and he as a director. “There’s a nice click between us, we are very excited to do this together.”
Stol has already seen the king and queen from a distance. Among other things, she worked until 2017 as a reporter for the KRO-NCRV broadcasting corporation on Radio 1 and as a newsreader for the NOS on NPO 3FM broadcasting stations. In 2013, she was also involved as a journalist in the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander. “We made live radio all day and reported on everything. It felt really special.”
That special feeling will be there once again during King’s Day, Stol adds. “Besides that, we’re mainly going to have a lot of fun.” In the three-hour show, Tessie Hartjes, from Lightyear, and Professor Maarten Steinbuch from the Eindhoven University of Technology will explain more about the Mobility Caravan that the royal family will arrive in. In that procession of special vehicles, the king will drive in an old DAF Kini and Queen Maxima in the newest solar car from Lightyear. “After that, we will switch over straightaway to Tessie and to Maarten to talk about the future of our transport.”
Step into the future
Philips is also in attendance. The company has designed an interactive installation for King’s Day that takes the royal family on a virtual journey into the future of healthcare. Nanda Huizing from Philips provides a preview of what the king will see, together with Stol and Weerts.
The two presenters also briefly compete against each other. It’s all about who wins the title: The fastest hovercraft builder. It is one of the experiments in ASML’s program, which the chip manufacturer uses to give primary and secondary school children a taste of technology and what you can do with it. Something that the viewer can also try out at home.
The finale of the royal visit is a combination of dance, music, drones and Artificial Intelligence. In the Orange Room, Mark Hoevenaars, director of strategy & marketing at Sioux Technologies, offers a preview of what to expect. Stol: “Yes, of course that makes my tech heart beat incredibly hard. The Orange Room is actually just a cool backstage area where you can see everything that’s going on.”
Stol is also looking forward to a visit from princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane to the Orange Room. In a talk show by and from young people from Eindhoven, the three of them will join in for the last five minutes. After that, the royal highnesses get to do some racing. “They are going to sim race against each other. I’m curious to see whether we’ll see any real competition between them and who knows how to manoeuvre best on this type of digital track. Who the Max Verstappen of the bunch is. I’m really looking forward to that.”
In addition to the television broadcast and the Orange Room, there are also ‘digital rooms’. From 11 am – 4 pm students from the Fontys University of Applied Sciences, among others, will show how they use sensors to measure biodiversity, you can take a look back in time with the digital portal of Eindhoven, discover new technologies related to swimming, and students from TU Eindhoven will have a discussion about sustainability.
In case you are new to the Netherlands and think: What is King’s Day actually? Then here’s a short explanation of this much-loved national holiday.