The Northern Dutch Water Technology sector

The Netherlands are renowned for their excellent water technology development. One of the oldest democratic institutions in the Netherlands is the system of Water Boards across the country. They have roots in the 13th Century, and epitomise the Dutch tri-partite working system of collaboration. Around 26% of the country is below sea level, with significantly more (up to 55%) at risk from localised flooding. The province of Friesland has especially become an important hub for Water Technology in the last years.

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The Netherlands has been a home for innovative thinking around water for several hundred years. Huge infrastructure projects such as the Zuiderzee Works and Delta Works in the 20th Century cemented the Netherlands’ reputation in this sector. In more recent years, the Northern Netherlands has emerged as the pre-eminent region for advances in Water Technology. Like most other important sectors of the Dutch economy, it is readily supported by partnerships between local and national government, business, and various educational institutions.

The province of Friesland has become a hugely important hub for this, through the creation of the WaterCampus Leeuwarden. WaterCampus exists to stimulate co-working and exists as the ‘links in the chain’ between research and business: the system is referred to as the WaterCampus Innovation Chain. The Campus also has an education trajectory, with opportunities for learning about the use of water from primary school age, through to university-level education and PhD’s. A founding and managing member of the WaterCampus is Wetsus, which is the European Centre of Excellence for Water Technology. Research areas at Wetsus cover a huge range of topics, under the themes ‘sustainable water supply’, ‘waste water treatment and reuse’, ‘sensoring of micro/nano pollutants’; ‘reuse of components and production of energy’, and ‘new water sources’. There are over 30 research projects being carried out under these themes. Aside from huge research output, both Wetsus and the WaterCampus Leeuwarden put on regular business-focussed activities, with the Campus offering various nimble working facilities for start-ups. In fact, the city of Leeuwarden is so important within the world water-technology sector that is has been participating in the ‘Global Compact Cities’ Programme run by the United Nations. Aside from the city of Milwaukee in the United States, Leeuwarden is the only city to specialise in water technology as part of this programme.

One other educational institution who has significant expertise in the field of water technology is the Van Hall Laurenstein University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden (with a campus in Velp, Gelderland), which conducts research on ways to make water use more sustainable, and the contribution that can be made to the circular economy using water technology.

Moreover, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences has an innovative lectorat in Water Technology, with both a teaching and research function. The University of Groningen offers joint-degrees in Water Technology (MSc level), whilst the Hanzehogeschool Groningen’s Institute for Life Science and Technology also contributes to research. These various institutions provide a steady stream of motivated and highly educated graduates who are versed not only in the science or water technology, but who also receive training in how to bring such breakthroughs into the ‘real world’.

Companies and jobs in watertech

Thesis & internship projects in water technology

  • Wetsus
  • Leeuwarden
  • Internship
  • Watertech
  • Research & Development
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North Water

  • Groningen
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Watertech
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HULO.ai

  • Leeuwarden
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • For jobseekers
  • Founded in Friesland
  • 2+
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Econvert Water & Energy B.V.

  • Heerenveen
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Interested to hire permitholders
  • Energy
  • 1+
Wetsus

Wetsus

  • Leeuwarden
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Interested to hire PhDs
  • Watertech
  • 1+