My highlights from the exchange between the Province of North-Holland and Baden-Württemberg

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On May 17 and 18, I had the honour to join regional minister Olthoff from the Province of North Holland on a mission to Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg. We went there to exchange experiences and learn from each other especially in the field of smart mobility.

After a nice train ride of no longer than 6 hours, we arrived in Stuttgart. We started our trip with a visit to ArenA2036 and Plug and Play Techcenter. A state-of-the-art research campus connected to a startup accelerator. Sascha Karimpour, director of Plug and Play, enthusiastically introduced us to their startup accelerator. He told us how they bring research and industries together and find efficient ways to collaborate with startups.

“To keep it exciting we constantly have to change. The major challenge now is not only matching start-ups and companies but also putting a lot of effort in stakeholder management, because if you don’t do that it will fall apart” - Sascha Karimpour.

In the research lab of ArenA2036 we saw amazing technologies come to life. From smart floors to highly advanced robotica and intralogistics; optimizing human and robot logistics in production. Peter Froeschle, CEO of ArenA2036, showed us around.

“Bringing all disciplines together increases creativity. But building an innovation platform is much more than just providing the facility. You need to keep the fire burning.” – Peter Froeschle.

In the afternoon, we had an official exchange with Verband Region Stuttgart. Here we learned that the Province of North Holland and Baden- Württemberg face a lot of the same mobility challenges. Similar to the Province of North-Holland, the interaction between urban and rural areas is important in Baden- Württemberg. We visited their innovative mobility hub concept. With standard services like the bus, taxi, P&R, bike & ride, but also an Information Terminal and 24/7 Info hotline, bike service station and kiosk.

Afbeelding Mobility Hub

Afterwards, we visited the construction site of Stuttgart 21, a large fully underground train station and 60km tunnel - a highlight of the trip! The impressive station is designed by the architect Ingenhoven. The prestigious design is characterised by its huge concrete pillars and a glass roofs providing light. A very controversial project which in the end was voted for in a referendum with 57% of the votes. By building the train station underground, public space in the city center will be freed up for housing. Take a look yourself at this unique project.

The next morning, we continued the knowledge exchange with the ministry of Transport of Baden- Württemberg. We learned a lot from their ambitious plans. State secretary of Transport Zimmer presented us the ambitious plans of Baden- Württemberg. Their goal is to be climate neutral in 2040, which is 10 years earlier than the EU ambitions. They really aim to be the frontrunner. Inspiring financing tools like a Mobility Pass and a Mobility Guarantee were presented. As well as diverse modalities of Mobility on Demand in more remote locations.

All in all, it was a very inspiring trip! We learned a lot and strengthened the ties with the Baden- Württemberg region.

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