“Travelling two and a half hours from The Hague to Groningen means travelling to the future!” That exultant statement officially announced the arrival of Groningen’s “Welcome in Cyberspace” campaign on Monday afternoon.
By Jelte Stol and Traci White / Translation by Traci White
The initiative aims to put Groningen on the map as the foremost digital city and province in the Netherlands. “Welcome in Cyberspace” is a collaboration among Groningen Digital Office, Noordelijke Online Ondernemers, Samenwerking Noord and Founded in Groningen.
The project identifies three main realms where Groningen can play an important role in the future: small-to-medium-sized businesses, the digital future and digital government. The homepage of the site is personally addressed to economic minister Eric Wiebes and secretary of State Mona Keijzer: the site calls on the national government to work together with the digital business sector in Groningen.
The site describes how small-to-medium-sized businesses can offer traineeships to the graduates of the region’s academic institutions, and digital citizenship could offer an attractive means for British companies to remain connected to the European Union post-Brexit. The digital future section pitches an “energy mortgage” for home owners to invest in renewable energy sources, as well as offering global start-ups the opportunity to test out the region’s 5G infrastructure.
“We’re sitting on a gold mine with Groningen’s digital sector: we can modernise our industries and charge full steam ahead into a social, digital future”, according to the initiators. “It will be a future with a digital government; a digital economic future; a safe future – for everyone.”
Plenty of room
“The Netherlands has big ambitions, and it needs space to bring those ambitions to fruition”, according to the campaign. “In Groningen, we literally have all the space you could ever need to grow, to experiment and to set up business. We also lead the way when it comes to digital innovations, tech companies and our existing digital ecosystem. We have physical and technological room to spare.”
The goal of the campaign is for Groningen to play a central role in the increasingly digital worlds of medium and small-sized business, government and society. According to the initiators, the tech sector in the city and province represent a promising opportunity for sharing knowledge, experience and expertise.