NRC Live series on Prevention & Health

“Prevention is better than cure” – Desiderius Erasmus

Looking back at the seventh edition of the Innovation Expo

With more than 6,000 visitors, this year’s edition of the Innovation Expo showed the power and interest of innovation in the Netherlands. Around 230 enthusiastic exhibitors showed their innovative solutions at the RDM site in Rotterdam. Visitors got inspired at the keynote sessions and went into depth at robust focus sessions. Plus many deals were sealed and many matches made among the visitors.

State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) sealed a Green Deal with 40 parties to use 100,000 sharing cars in 2021. Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) launched the Consolidation of strengths for smart mobility, and Secretary General Lideqijde Ongering revealed the 12 nominees for the Water Innovation Prize 2018. State Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs and Climate Policy) gave the go-ahead for the election of the new National Icons, and Raymond Knops (State Secretary Foreign Affairs) awarded the Stuiveling Open Data Award to the innovative platform PoliFLW. With Meet & Match being an important theme, the visitors made contact via the networking app and in various network meetings. Also, our Health~Holland colleagues could not resist trying out some great Life Sciences & Health innovations, like Scoozy, the alternative for the mobility scooter and Wolk, the invisible hip airbag.


Watch the aftermovie of the Innovation Expo below (in Dutch):

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Mobile Healthcare: the meeting place for professionals in digital health

On Thursday 8 November, the 7th edition of the Mobile Healthcare Event took place. With around 900 guests, inspiring sessions and keynotes from Prof. Marcel Levi, Matt Stanton, Laura Madsen and Prof. Nico van Meeteren as well as the presentation of the first copy of the eHealth-monitor 2018, we can look back on a successful day in which digital health was the centre of attention.


Technological developments create a gigantic scale of possibilities to enhance care. The technology exists but how can we utilise the opportunities of eHealth/mHealth better and how can we collectively scale this up? How do we build a bridge between eHealth/mHealth developments and the use of these by the care provider and patient? This asks for collaboration from other areas, the flexibility of all stakeholders involved within the healthcare landscape, and a financing structure that supports this.


Together with healthcare professionals, directors and management, board members and innovators that work for healthcare organisations, patients and providers, the possibilities and obstacles to implement eHealth tools and applications were discussed. Not just technological innovations, like online access, patient portals and apps and wearables, were considered but also the social innovations these require.


Also, our own Nico van Meeteren discussed the topic of social innovation in his plenary presentation. Curious about his vision on how to shape the future of healthcare? Watch his presentation here:

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Attend the 8th edition of the Mobile Healtcare event

Do you want to attend the 8th edition of the Mobile Healthcare Event next year? Write down the 7th of November 2019 in your agenda. Can’t wait? Watch the presentations of the other keynote speakers on the Mobile Healthcare website and get inspired to make great strides in implementing eHealth tools and applications in the Dutch healthcare ecosystem.

Dutch Life Sciences Conference:  The next wave of innovation for patients

With speakers like Ronald Plasterk (CSO myTomorrows), Eline Vrijland van Beest (Founder and CEO NightBalance), Sander van Deventer (CSO UniQure) and Ton Logtenberg (President and CEO Merus) the Programme Committee was able to create a very inspiring and dynamic conference that stimulated discussions and facilitated interactions between business executives, R&D specialists, policy makers and investors from the Dutch life sciences sector and beyond.


The goal of the conference was to inspire and promote an open exchange of information including trends and developments in the industry. Special attention went to young entrepreneurs and companies. The Venture Challenge award for the best startup company was announced, and young companies pitched their venture at the Investors Forum.

Plenty of opportunities for Dutch life sciences sector to become the Boston of Europe

Organised by Health~Holland, the gathering in Nieuwspoort focused on creating opportunities for attracting more investments in the pharmaceutical industry in the Netherlands. Markwin Velders (Kite Pharma) talked about why his company decided to establish a new factory in the Netherlands for innovative cancer treatments. Jurgen Kwik (Janssen Prevention & Vaccines) shared how Janssen grew into a key player in the area of vaccine development and what makes the Netherlands an attractive country for foreign companies.

The Boston of Europe

Hans Schikan, chairman a.i. of Health~Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, did not hide his ambition in the slightest. "With 420 innovative companies, 8 academic hospitals and 13 universities focussing on medicine development in a small geographical area, the Netherlands has everything to become the Boston of Europe. Additionally, the arrival of the European Medicine Agency (EMA) in the Netherlands in 2019 will reassure medicine developers that we are definitely on the map. The Dutch government and entrepreneurs must firmly seize the opportunities the EMA offers."

Call for mutual trust

Leendert de Lange (VVD) called for more trust between the biopharmaceutical sector and the government: “I am proud when I see how businesses are popping up like mushrooms in our science parks. To take the next step, the interaction between government and businesses needs to be enhanced. That is only possible if we jointly work on a predictable and consistent policy and we trust each other.”

Impressive impact

Jessica van Eijs (D66) called the impact of the innovation by pharmaceutical companies impressive. ‘Excellent collaboration between all parties involved is needed to maximise this impact. The government entrepreneurs, educational establishments and citizens need to keep the ball rolling and jointly create local ecosystems. The arrival of the EMA can reinforce this positive effect.’

The members of the Dutch House of Representatives received the new edition of the bid book from Gerard Schouw (Dutch Association Innovative Medicines) and Annemiek Verkamman (HollandBIO) during the PharmInvestHolland gathering. The industry now has a wonderful tool to show what the Netherlands has to offer.

Watch a short video of the gathering below:

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Network event with a Chinese delegation on Healthy Ageing

In November, a small delegation from Beijing, Shandong and Guangzhou visited the Netherlands for a two-day programme focussed on elderly care and digital health solutions. The delegation started their mission with a visit to the Tergooi hospital in Hilversum, where they got a tour through the e-studio and received information about data and digital innovation in hospitals. The visit gave insight into how digital solutions and already existing data can improve health (outcomes) and healthcare while reducing wasteful use of resources. Subsequently, the delegation visited two elderly care facilities of Brabant Zorg, where they received a tour and presentation on innovation in dementia care. On the second day, a networking event was organised on healthy ageing in China & the Netherlands, where Dutch organisations had the opportunity to present themselves and their smart solutions to the Chinese delegation. The Chinese market offers a lot of opportunities to Dutch organisations, and connecting with high-level delegates can have a big impact on one’s success in China. More than thirty Dutch organisations attended the event, and many new connections were made.

Even though it was a short visit much information was exchanged between the Dutch and the Chinese delegation, whether it was through the network event or through one of the visits. The two-day programme made a great impression on our Chinese guests.