State visit Royal Couple Berlin

On 8 July PhotonicsNL was very honoured to have been part of the state visit of the Royal Couple to Germany. 
On this page  we want to share these fantastic moments at the TU Berlin.

Advancing collaboration in Photonics and Quantum Technologies

Highlight of the program on Wednesday was to boost the collaboration in photonics between Germany and the Netherlands, witnessed by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima, Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Mona Keijzer, German excellencies Michael Müller, governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Higher Education and Research, Steffen Krach, State Secretary for Higher Education and Research and other dignitaries from both countries. Of course key figures of the Photonics ecosystems were also present, amongst others Frank Lerch of OptecBB, Ron van der Kolk and Benno Oderkerk of PhotonicsNL, Ewit Roos of PhotonDelta, Paul Urbach of Dutch Optics Centre and Eddy Schipper of the Dutch Enterprise Agency. And surely Bart Sattler and Kimberley Klein Meulekamp of the Embassy of the Netherlands for the preparatory work we have done with them to realize this unforgettable day.

Introduction to importance of collaboration

After the arrival of the Royal Couple, welcome speeches were given by the two hosts: Prof. Dr. Christian Thomsen, President of the TU Berlin and Prof. Dr. Martin Schell, Executive Director Fraunhofer HHI. Benno Oderkerk, our chairman, completed this part with his insights.

Prof. Dr. Thomsen stated that since the inauguration of the building over 130 years ago, the Atrium of the TU Berlin (Lichthof) has always radiated a symbolic quality and at its historic core it stands for the dawn of the technological age and represents change, progress and innovation. This inquisitive drive has established the TU Berlin as a world leading center for scientific and applied research and collaboration. Prof. Thomsen further stated that we are together to celebrate advancement, because the future is made of light. Photonics, the scientific and economic use of light, is already used in many technologies. And with Quantum technologies and Integrated Photonics on the rise the collaboration between the Netherlands and the Berlin region takes a leading and pioneering role. By officially strengthening this partnership, we hope to further connect our two countries and together pave to the way to solve the many societal challenges we face today and will face in the future.

Prof. Dr. Schell then proceeded with his speech and explained more about our advancing scientific collaboration. He showed the audience how Photonics is important in Material Processing, e.g. cutting materials in centimeters, but also processing on the nanometer scale. He showed how Photonics is also sensing and he referred to sensors in Aerospace and Automotive. How Photonics has entered Agriculture. How Photonics is Communication. And above all, how Photonics is about people. Great example is how Prof. em. Meint Smit, the father of the 10 year collaboration between the University of Eindhoven and Fraunhofer HHI. And how Photonics is also represented by the cluster OpTecBB, the initiative of companies and scientific institutions for together exploring Photonics and the collaboration with the Netherlands.

Our chairman of PhotonicsNL, Benno Oderkerk, then proceeded the plenary part with his speech about the Importance of Photonics and the Collaboration on network level. The Geopolitical situation is constantly changing and so it is important for Europe to unite and work together, to make sure that we, with our technologies like photonics and quantum technologies, that are very innovative and key enabling as we call them, have the whole value chain within Europe. This is essential for employment and future economic growth and solving societal challenges. Therefore the collaborations between the clusters and their members is important.

Purpose and signing of the MoU

With the signing of the agreement between the clusters we intend to stimulate, strengthen and increase the economic growth of the Berlin-Brandenburg region and the Dutch regions. We can achieve this by increasing innovation and competitiveness of the regional industries and of the research and development potential of the mentioned regions, especially in the fields of Optics, Photonics, Opto-Electronics and Quantum Technologies and their related application fields.

Furthermore we want to initiate and support research and business cooperation between members of the clusters of both countries. Exchanging information on innovation challenges and solutions for the clusters, by jointly organizing activities (e.g. trainings, workshops, exhibitions, seminars and conferences) and joint participation in branch trade fairs of the regions and other fairs of international reach. Overall the MoU is essential for the next level of collaboration in Photonics between Germany and the Netherlands.

Visit of the Royal Couple to parallel stations

After the signing of the MoU we showed the Royal Couple and all dignitaries 4 major elements of Dutch and German collaboration.

To His Majesty the King we showed the collaboration between the Netherlands and Germany on the Commercialization of Tech and Research into Start-ups. This very important element will strengthen and build the value chain of Integrated Photonics. The way we are able to do this in the Netherlands with the PhotonDelta ecosystem as frontrunner is of great interest for our German partners.

Furthermore another very important aspect that we showed is the collaboration between the large internationals. In this station ASML and Berliner Glas presented how they have merged into a very competitive combination.

On the the Science and Career route we showed Her Majesty the Queen how TU Berlin and Dutch Optics Centre/TU Delft focus on Photonics in education and how this leads to careers in Photonics. She also referred to the importance of women in science to be able to meet the demand for specialists. Inside joke is that sometimes the scientists of both the Berlin university as well as the TU Delft university claim to have the highest amount of female PhD candidates. The Dutch and German universities will explore the possibility of a joint education and/or exchange program, as has been successfully done between TU Delft and the University of Jena/Thüringen. This will be of great value.

And last but not least we showed Queen Máxima some of the developments of Photonics in Quantum Technologies. TU Berlin showed the projects they are working on and QuantumDelta presented their approach in starting collaborations.

The future of the MoU and collaboration

The signing of this MoU is the advancement of a long-term professional and pleasant route to give shape to the German-Dutch collaboration. E.g. the application of Photonics in various sectors such as AgriFood, Medical, Automotive, etc. where PhotonDelta and Dutch Optics Centre are aiming for. We will organize workshops together and share challenges to reach joint solutions. One of the first opportunities to do this is during the Photonics Days of Berlin in October this year and at the end of this year at our DutchPhotonicsEvent. We can also strengthen each other on trade fairs and seminars of end users.