Smart ‘s-Hertogenbosch is driven by data

After Russia I am now back in the Netherlands and, as mentioned in my previous blog on Amsterdam , I would like to highlight some of the smaller cities in the Netherlands. Amsterdam continues to receive most of the smart city attention, both internationally and in the Netherlands itself; but lots of interesting developments are taking place elsewhere in the country as well.


As the Dutch cities (and not the national government) are in charge of the national smart city agenda, cities are trying to avoid too much duplication and to each specialise in an area that allows them to work with other Dutch cities that share similar developments. Becoming a lead city in a particular field gives that city great opportunities for cooperation and collaboration with others who share the knowledge and experience that is obtained in this way. As well as this national funding is also far more targeted – rather than scattering money around cooperation and collaboration can be stimulated with targeted funding.


The speciality of the smart city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch is big data.


I have to declare my personal interest here as I am originally from the province of Brabant, of which ‘s-Hertogenbosch is the capital city. Several times it has obtained the national award of being the most ‘gezellige’ city in the Netherlands. That word is hard to translate – it is a combination of fun, great food and a generally relaxed atmosphere with lots of entertainment. People are flocking to the city for a weekend away or a night out in this town, which also has a lot of mediaeval history embedded.


‘s‑Hertogenbosch (the forest of the duke) received city rights in 1185 and is commonly called Den Bosch. It is a pivot point between the south of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and the four biggest cities of the Netherlands. This is how they promote their business acumen – a city and region that is attractive to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs benefit from its bustling inner city, exuberant networking culture and each other’s knowledge. Major companies work actively with small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups.


As mentioned, the  city is focusing on ICT / Data, with over 600 ICT companies, 7,000 ICT professionals and 1,000 ICT students. The cross-overs between ICT / Data and key industries such as Agrifood, Logistics and Construction are unique. They use  ‘Open Entrepreneurship’ not just as a term to describe their economic ambition and vision; they claim that entrepreneurs in their city practise this outlook!


Data and data sciences will play a major role in helping improve the quality of life of the city and its citizens. Data research is a swiftly emerging science that will open up an untold number of opportunities for new social and economic activities. It will contribute to finding solutions for social issues such as safety, health and sustainability. That’s why the municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch invests in Smart ‘s-Hertogenbosch, driven by data.


They work closely with their universities. For instance, the AVANS University of Applied Science has a track record in the field of ICT. A special asset for companies is the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. In a two-year masters course students learn everything there is to know about data entrepreneurship. Moreover they work closely with entrepreneurs and with their social partners.


(PS some of you might recognise one of my favourite painters in the name of this university: Jheronimus Bosch – whose paintings show an enormous amount of creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and complex life issues.  If you aren’t familiar with him, please Google him.)


In a previous blog I mentioned the Robin data platform. This city also uses that platform and one can view the most up-to-date statistics about the city there – whether it concerns train delays, energy consumption, twitter messages or current water levels?


In my next blog I will cover the city of Eindhoven, the birthplace of the Philips company.


Paul Budde

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