Dit jaar in oranje: Hannover Messe 2014
Wherever you look at the Hannover Messe 2014 you can see tulips from the Netherlands. They not only flourish on the area outside the exhibition halls, but are also braided into several trade fair booths. These flowers are probably the second most common association with the Netherlands after the colour orange.
The economic relationship between the Netherlands and Germany has been flourishing for years, too. Because, in contrast to he competition on the green of the soccer stadiums, here we are working together instead of competing against each other. Germany benefits in particular from the Netherlands' qualities as a distribution location. At the port of Rotterdam, for example, which markets itself as the "biggest German port", more goods are handled than in all German ports together. The Netherlands, on the other hand, values the high quality and heterogeneity of the industry in Germany. This results in outstanding foreign trade figures: The Netherlands is the second most important trade partner for Germany after France. Germany, in turn, is the most important partner in foreign trade for the Netherlands by clear margin.
The number of foreign direct investment in Germany is further proof of the extensive ties between the two neighbouring countries. Almost 25 per cent of Germany's foreign direct investment come from the neighbouring kingdom which means that it is by far ahead of all international competition. None of the other countries even reach a double-digit percentage. It is obvious that this sum also influences the job market: More than half a million German workplaces are based on these investments.
Panel discussion of the foreign trade workshop at Hannover Messe 2014
International and interdisciplinary
In view of these enormous values, the following statement regarding this year's Hannover Messe does not come as a surprise: With about 250 exhibitors, it has seen the largest participation of Dutch industry and science at a trade fair event outside of their home country. The result is not only an exceptionally high number of tulips and the colour orange dominating at the fair as mentioned before, but in particular various events addressing the collaboration of the two neighbouring countries. Opportunities, sectors and research, for example, were the topic of the foreign trade workshop for Dutch and German companies.
Prof. Dr. Frits van Merode, Dean of Sciences at Maastricht University, and Prof. Dr. Werner Klaffke, CEO of Bayern Innovativ GmbH, agreed that the German-Dutch collaboration is based on partnership and is very intensive, thus the communication problems between Germany and the Netherlands are less complicated that those between chemists and physicists – mind you, independent of the language barrier. So it is no surprise that Bayern Innovativ, for example, is already promoting projects with exactly this objective: Establishing a network not only between the Dutch and Germans, but, in particular, interdisciplinary. The S_LIFE EU project is one example of these approaches. Together with seven partners from six nations it is working on new technological approaches and solutions along the automotive product life cycle. Only for the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that a Dutch partner is of course also involved in the project: Auto Recycling Nederland ARN Holding.
Here you can find more information on the Projekt S_LIFE, on Bayern Innovativ and on further Bavarian Clusters.