An important first step has been taken with the recognition in The Hague of Brainport Eindhoven as a Mainport Region, but now it is important to follow up. Peter Wennink, CEO at ASML: “The fact that millions of ASML are needed to keep the international school and the ice rink afloat, is unprecedented. But unfortunately, it’s necessary because this region – mind you, the second economy of the country – is still not receiving enough resources from the central government.”
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The ‘undervaluation’ of the region Eindhoven still touches a nerve for Wennink, so he shows at the presentation of the annual figures. “Due to our further growth, we are going to need more talents from abroad. And that shouldn’t really be a problem, the area code 040 is now known worldwide, so they can find us. But preserving all those talents for this region, that is a whole other matter. For that we will need a lot more and better facilities than what we have now – and that really is a task for the Central Government.”
Wennink has mentioned it repeatedly the past year in the Hague, often together with former mayor Rob van Gijzel, but the battle is still far from fought. “Our competitiveness simply has to increase, that’s in the interest of our whole country. Here in Eindhoven, we’re the international hub for innovation. When you see how much of the Dutch industry is dependant on the amount of added value that is created here, you can only draw one conclusion: an investment in Brainport is an investment in the Netherlands.”
Wennink calls the Brainport region a jewel. “But a jewel that can be polished, so it will really shine. Concretely: a high-speed train to Dusseldorf, a conference centre where we can bring together international specialists in the field of leading edge technology, better cultural facilities, finally a Rijksmuseum, for example on the field of design, and I could go on like this for a while. The difference between what the central government gives to Amsterdam and the rest of the Randstad and what befalls Eindhoven, is inexplicable. Just look at the billions spent on the second Maasvlakte. What added value, now and especially in the long term, really comes from that?”
Now that Brainport is recognized as mainport, it is important to continue, according to Wennink. “Business, knowledge institutions and government have to take care of the implementation. The Netherlands needs it.”
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