Noorden Digitaal will shine a spotlight on digital innovation and collaboration in the Northern Netherlands in March

Thursday 27 February 2020

From 13 to 19 March 2020, the Northern Netherlands will revolve around digitization. The annual Nederland Digitaal (Digital Netherlands) conference will be held in Groningen this year. During the week surrounding the conference – under the ‘Noorden Digitaal’ (Digital North) programme – activities on digitization will be organized at various locations across Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe and will be open to the public. Chair of the Noorden Digitaal steering group, Prof. Iris Vis: ‘We will demonstrate that the Northern Netherlands is an innovative region in the area of digitization, in which we would like to involve everyone: from, by and with the North. We think that everyone has the right to a well-prepared digital future.’


The North leads the way

All sectors are affected by digitization: education, healthcare, industry, the service sector, agriculture, trade and government. In the Northern Netherlands, digitization is being deployed to find new solutions to societal challenges. And we are doing this together: knowledge institutes, entrepreneurs, Northern residents and local government are coming together to work on digitization, with a focus on opportunities for experimentation and innovation. This is how Noorden Digitaal was created, under the remit of the Northern Netherlands Economic Board.

Iris Vis explains: ‘Here in the North, there is room to experiment. In the Digital Literacy Coalition, for example, school pupils and knowledge institutes, entrepreneurs and government are working together to make Groningen the most digitally literate city and province by 2025. Another example is the Frysklab: the first official library-driven ‘fab lab’ in Europe, developed by the Friesland library service. The Frysklab creates interest in technology and stimulates digital literacy. In the Fieldlab 5Groningen project, we are working on solutions for which 5G is necessary, such as live data that give medical specialists the chance to already take a look at the patient inside the ambulance. And the biggest blockchain and AI hackathon in the world is organized here every year: the Odyssey. In this hackathon, developers, entrepreneurs and creatives work together on innovative solutions for government and the business world. In short, the North is leading the way, especially in terms of collaboration.’