Boundless mind

At Amsterdam Science Park, we believe knowledge has no borders. That’s why you’ll find cutting-edge institutes, top-class facilities and business incubators in one convenient location. You’ll meet motivated students, innovative researchers, talented scientists and adventurous entrepreneurs – all in an environment where it’s easy to work together. Cross-disciplinary initiatives and holistic thinking flourish. Ground-breaking research projects become successful spin-offs. That’s the strength of Amsterdam Science Park: connecting boundless minds.

Astrid Tuinder

Astrid Tuinder leads Amsterdam Science Park’s Acquisitions Team.

“When I began working here, I invited the Mayor of Amsterdam to visit. He was very impressed by what he saw and said that Amsterdam Science Park was ‘the city’s best-kept secret’, which maybe explains why I’m here. I’m employed by the City of Amsterdam’s Economic Development Department, and I’m currently ‘on loan’ to Amsterdam Science Park to help improve its visibility and extend its business network. Together with Willem Fokkema, Business Developer at the Innovation Exchange Amsterdam, I head our Acquisitions Team, which currently consists of seven people, each representing a significant aspect of Amsterdam Science Park."

Amsterdam Science Park has some very unique advantages. It unites a wide range of scientific disciplines in one place. It is home to university departments and several national institutes, has an international outlook and reputation, and boasts a superb infrastructure with the Amsterdam Internet Exchange. It is the birthplace of the European internet, which has contributed hugely to the fact that Amsterdam is the internet capital of Europe. Some of the world’s best scientists work here. The park also has a vibrant business community with over 130 companies, from start-ups to multinationals.

"The know-how, for example about big data research, is top ranked, from fundamental research to innovative applications."

We are starting an exciting new phase of development, with 120,000m2 still available. Basically, the Acquisitions Team tries to get the word out to connect science with business and society. It’s true of course that big companies like Shell and Philips have always found us as a research partner, but there are so many more business opportunities and innovation possibilities here. The know-how, for example about big data research, is top ranked, from fundamental research to innovative applications. So we invite companies, NGOs, governments and institutes to Amsterdam Science Park to introduce them to the people and facilities here that could benefit to their business, and at the same time add to our community. We organize special events to bring the science and business worlds together, such as our regular Beta for Business meetings.

For my first two years here, the focus was on getting as many people to visit the park as possible. In that time we welcomed about 1500 visitors, from politicians to companies to representatives of business associations. The wide variety of disciplines and activities here can be overwhelming, so we decided to narrow our focus to three key areas this year: ICT & Big Data, Sustainable Chemistry, and Physics & Nanotechnology. Each of these focus areas can add significant value to today’s challenges faced by business and society. Large companies such as Qualcomm, ASML, Bosch and Nikon already saw the potential for their business in recent years and have a presence at Amsterdam Science Park. 

"We’re already looking forward to some exciting new arrivals and collaborative projects in 2017." 

In 2016, a total of 26 new companies, from start-ups to SME’s to multinationals, have set up office here. Tatasteel was one of them. Also, the City of Amsterdam is working together with CWI, the national institute for mathematics, on crowd-control issues to, for instance, reduce the risk of major accidents at large events.12 new science based start-up companies have landed in the brand new incubator build entirely of ship containers: Startup Village. And, we’re already looking forward to some exciting new arrivals and collaborative projects in 2017. 

Amsterdam is not a one-sided city. It’s a centre for the creative industries, finance and logistics, as well as science. This combination of different disciplines is what made Amsterdam a melting pot of new ideas back in the 17th century. Scientists were working closely together with artists and tradesmen. In my vision for the future of Amsterdam Science Park, I see us creating a vibrant, inspirational climate in which knowledge has no boundaries and cross-disciplinary ideas can flourish and find their way to the rest of the world.

“I studied art and theatre design myself, but I feel very much at home among scientists. There’s an openness and a readiness to try new things and share them with others. This curiosity-driven outlook can add a lot of value to business and society. But don’t take my word for it – come and see for yourself!”