Particulieren kunnen met een hijskraan een PowerNEST op hun dak laten zetten Foto: © IBIS Power
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With Lightyear, Ioniqa, Ibis Power and Smart*Light, Brainport Eindhoven delivers four of the ten finalists for the title ‘National Icon of the Netherlands’. These National Icons are Dutch solutions for global issues in the areas of health, energy, digitisation, circular materials and mobility. In September, the Dutch Cabinet will announce the final winners. It’s the third time the competition is organised.

A total of 55 projects have been submitted for the third edition. An independent jury led by Hans Wijers selected ten innovations and advises the Cabinet on the appointment of the National Icons. The ten entrepreneurs and researchers involved have been invited to explain their innovations in detail to the jury in the coming weeks.

The ten finalists

The ten Dutch innovations in the race for the title of National Icon are:

  • BiosparQ (Leiden): fast and affordable diagnostics of infectious diseases;
  • Elemental Water Makers (The Hague): sustainable water supply via sun, sea and wind;
  • Hiberband  (Amsterdam): satellite network for the Internet of Things (IoT);
  • Inreda Diabetic (Goor): artificial meat gland for people with diabetes;
  • PET Upcycling (Ioniqa), (Eindhoven): chemical recycling method for PET plastic waste;
  • Leadax (Wapenveld): the new lead: a fully circular replacement of lead;
  • Lightyear (Atlas Technologies, Helmond): solar electric family car;
  • Oxycom Fresh Air (Raalte): natural air control in buildings
  • PowerNEST (IBIS Power, Eindhoven): an extra floor on the building that combines energy from the sun and wind;
  • Smart*Light (Delft/Eindhoven): an inventive mobile instrument that generates X-rays for medical, material and art research.

State Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs and Climate): “The government is looking for pioneering Dutch innovations that contribute to societal challenges at a global level. Our entrepreneurs and researchers have a strong track record in this area. These include historical icons such as the microscope, the Delta Works and technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth. The election of the National Icons underlines the Dutch ambitions to remain a leader in innovation.”

“The Netherlands has a strong track record, thanks to historical icons such as the microscope, the Delta Works and technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth.”


The cabinet helps the National Icons to realise their ambitions and gives them an international platform. The entrepreneurs and researchers involved receive a tailor-made support programme. In addition, they will receive a minister or state secretary as ambassador. For example, this offers access to a large network when tapping into new opportunities at home and abroad.

At the previous edition in 2016, Blue energy from REDstack (energy from water), Growboxx from Groasis (planting in dry areas) and Lighthouse from ASML (medical isotopes) were awarded the title of National Icon. The election was organised for the first time in 2014, when four innovations were awarded: cultivated stem cells, QuTech, hybrid potatoes and the Bioneedle.