What Can Bavaria and the Netherlands Learn From Each Other?

What Can Bavaria and the Netherlands Learn From Each Other?

Bavarian company delegation visits the Netherlands to expand their network and work more closely with Dutch companies.

“High-tech Bayern!”, we hear through the meeting room when the screen appears again. The presentation appears on the screen thanks to a ‘German’ dongle that one of the visitors takes out of their bag. Problem solved. A Bavarian company delegation visits the Netherlands to expand their network and work more closely with Dutch companies. From Rotterdam to Eindhoven and Tilburg. From Utrecht to Amsterdam. During the visit to the Brainport Industries Campus, the German delegation hears all about the ideas of the BIC and gets a tour of the complex.

“Dutch research shows that 77 per cent of innovation success is social innovation, and only 23 per cent is technological innovation. That’s why the social aspect is so important here at BIC,” explains Bert-Jan Woertman, Director of the campus. After his explanation, Ansgar Rudolph of Chemie-Cluster Bayern is particularly interested in this. “In Bavaria, I see that we mainly focus on technological development, but forget about the social system around it. I think we can learn a lot from the Netherlands in this area. It’s good to see these examples”, Rudolph points out.

German experts

Rudolph is a great advocate of open innovation. In Bavaria, he tries to convince others to work together more often: “We have plenty of German experts, it’s not the technical knowledge that is lacking. However, there are too few people who stand up and say who should be responsible for what. The system for setting up innovation is still somewhat lacking. Germans may be more reserved in that respect. That is much better in the Netherlands.

Rudolph indicates – just like Woertman in his presentation – the importance of mutual trust in each other: “You must always be discreet, even when working closely together. You can’t share everything, that’s where IP distribution comes in. But if you enter an open discussion and you know from each other who contributed what, it increases trust.

Finally, he has a tip for Dutch companies. Rudolph: “German companies are very good at quickly choosing a focus area, they make no concessions in quality. They quickly look to an international market.”

Eye height

The network trip was set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands and the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology. Martin Grossmann, responsible in Bavaria for the internationalisation of the state, indicates the importance of looking beyond our own borders: “Smart factories and smart logistics are becoming more and more dependent on smart technology and are coping well with the increasing data flows, that’s the case throughout Europe, everyone faces more or less the same challenges. But everyone tackles this differently. There is no fixed recipe for success, which is why it is important to learn from each other and work together more intensively. The big companies are already doing this, but it is also important to get the smaller players around the table.”

Since 2016, the Netherlands and the German state have been working on a closer relationship. Marijn van Haaren, Senior Adviser at the Economic Department of the Dutch consulate in Munich, sees many opportunities in this on both sides: “Southern Germany is practically at eye level with the Netherlands, the industry continues to grow. There are many opportunities for cooperation. We are trying to seize these opportunities with various projects, including this one.”

Expanding to the Netherlands

Harald Faulhaber is Managing Director of Membrain GmbH, a software manufacturer working for more than 300 customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “And soon perhaps in the Netherlands,” Faulhaber says as he leaves his business card with Anteryon. “Within the company, we have been exploring whether the Netherlands could be a good location for some time already. A trip like this is ideal to see how they work here and whether it fits in with our philosophy. The Netherlands has an excellent data infrastructure that is ideal for us. We are looking for the best partners to work with.”

Others have fewer concrete plans in the Netherlands and mainly want to expand their network. So does Andreas Johannes Estner of VDMA Bayern, one of the largest network organisations in Europe in the field of mechanical engineering. “We have a huge network, and by gaining an overview of what is going on in the Netherlands, we can bring Bavarian companies into contact with parties from the Netherlands,” Estner says.

Between the welding booths and milling machines used by Summa College and other companies, Estner explains that he finds this form of cooperation exciting: “At this location, many different parties, government and education work together, I think that would be slower with us. Before anyone acts, everything has to be in black and white. Everything must go according to plan, which of course makes it more difficult to set something up. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Just look at the startup hub in Munich, there are a lot of parties involved.”