ZIE 2023 © Anna Zwettler
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On April 4, 2024, the Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam will open its doors for ZIE2024, the knowledge and networking event that spotlights the South Holland technology industry. With the theme “New technology for the manufacturing industry,” ZIE2024 aims to be a crucial meeting place for professionals on the front lines of technological progress and industrial innovation.

With its rich industrial history and more than 30,000 manufacturing companies and suppliers, Zuid-Holland positions itself as a core player in the national economy. ZIE2024 aims to bridge the gap between different sectors and achieve accelerated growth by focusing on key transitions such as digitization, energy transition, and circular economy. The event’s agenda includes topics ranging from space travel and hydrogen to quantum technology and artificial intelligence.

Economic growth

Martin van Gogh, director of Hi Delta, emphasizes the importance of this collaboration for economic growth in South Holland. “This province has old-fashioned compartmentalization in the port industry, horticulture, and manufacturing. But together, we are facing major transitions. At ZIE, we bring high-tech and manufacturing companies, suppliers, knowledge institutions, educators, and governments together in one place. After all, medium-sized companies in the manufacturing industry cannot guarantee growth on their own.”

Special attention is paid to the possibility of companies from other provinces participating. Judith van den Nieuwenhuijzen, ZIE program manager at Mikrocentrum, points out the potential of this cross-pollination for promoting growth and innovation. “In the Brainport region, for example, we have a wealth of knowledge available on high-tech, which can further advance the aerospace and agrifood sector in South Holland. In practice, we often find that these companies do not know how to find each other, leaving orders, customer expansion, and business growth untapped.”

Great diversity

The diversity of the ZIE2024 participants promises a broad spectrum of insights and innovations. We have already spoken with three of them: Hans Priem of VDL ETG, Erwin van Schaik of Euro-Techniek, and Tom Houwen of Airbus Netherlands, each with their own vision and expectations for the event.

Tom Houwen cites networking as one of the main reasons for attending ZIE 2024. “The strength of the Dutch manufacturing industry lies in the Netherlands’ innovative capacity. To get the most out of this for everyone, we must be connected and stay connected as a network to give that innovation an even stronger boost.” Hans Priem agrees: “It is an excellent opportunity to network, increase brand awareness, and meet potential customers. VDL ETG wants to show what it has to offer regarding innovative technological solutions.

For Erwin van Schaik, it is his first time at this fair. “We believe that innovation thrives on cooperation. By being present at the fair, we can profile ourselves as a partner actively involved in product design. With our tool shop, stamping, and injection molding department under one roof, we can offer a comprehensive range of services. This enables us not only to advise on design but also to provide high-end products.”

Priem wants to promote the VDL ETG brand a little more widely. “We want to strengthen our existing relationships and recruit potential customers. We are known as a strong, reliable partner in the semiconductor industry, but we also want to present our presence in other market segments. We are proud of our expertise and experience, which we can broadly use.”

Houwen adds: “We are quite well connected to the ecosystem in the Netherlands and know our suppliers well. But you not only have to build a network but also maintain it. It’s always good to keep up to date with developments in the Dutch aerospace and manufacturing industry. So be sure to stop by our booth or talk to us when you see us passing by.”


For Van Schaik, it’s all in the cross-pollination between different sectors that he hopes to contribute to at ZIE2024. “Innovation and development are fundamental to the manufacturing industry. Combining mold-stamping technology out-of-the-box opens the door to new possibilities. For example, Euro-Technology recently partnered with a start-up in the medical sector. The main focus here was the development of a crossover between a stamp, a die, and the products through hot-embossing. A great example of a crossover between the plastics and metal industries for innovation within the medical industry.”

This fits well with the central theme of ZIE2024, “New technology for the manufacturing industry. Priem also connects to this with a special line towards the aerospace sector that is so highly developed in South Holland: “During the fair, we will present the CubeCAT, one of the most advanced laser terminals for small satellites in the world. FSO Instruments, a joint venture of VDL ETG and Demcon, developed the CubeCAT. It industrializes laser satellite communication technology by making it simpler and cheaper to produce while adding functionality. This puts us in a fascinating and challenging new market where there is much to discover and innovate, and this provides opportunities where we can differentiate ourselves.”

A sustainable industrial future

On that note, Priem is sure to stop by Houwen’s during the show, if only because Airbus Netherlands’ main focus is aerospace. “Being active in different market segments, we know better than anyone that sometimes you have to push technological boundaries to achieve your goal,” says Houwen. “Often, the new technologies and ideas developed for space travel find a place here on Earth afterward in the most diverse applications. New technology can come from an unexpected place!”

ZIE2024, on April 4 at the Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam, is free to visitors. Would you like to expand your network in South Holland, meet new cooperation partners, and present your technological solutions to a wide audience? Then check out the possibilities in the exhibitor brochure.


This story is the result of a collaboration between Mikrocentrum and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here