From May 30th until June 3rd the Messe in Munich was home to IFAT Munich, making a strong comeback following the challenges of the last two years. IFAT being the world’s leading trade fair for environmental technologies. It gathered the most innovative industry from all over the world, with 2,984 exhibitors and 119,000 visitors (half of them from abroad). NWP together with Water Alliance and ENVAQUA once again co-organized the striking Netherlands Pavilion in typical Dutch ‘kings orange’. That IFAT enjoys a great interest from the Dutch was also clear from the start, as all spots on the pavilion were sold out in no time. Water Alliance members exhibited in large numbers at IFAT.
Aqana, CirTec, Colubris Cleantech, DeSa, ELIQUO, Enitor Primo, Ferr-Tech, Hubert Stavoren, Hydraloop, Klaren International, Landustrie Sneek, NIQO Systems, NX Filtration, Paques, Royal Eijkelkamp, Royal HaskoningDHV, Titan Salt, Van Remmen UV Technology were all present.
The Dutch are celebrated for their inventiveness, this was noticeable by constant flow of interested visitors, opting for information, discussing current (water) issues or just catching up. Numerous delegations visited the pavilion including a delegation from Singapore and the European BLUES project . Together with French Water Team, Oriane Marchal and Water Alliance director Hein Molenkamp guided the delegation at the pavilion and connected several parties.
Water Alliance not only participated in the NL pavilion but also hosted several activities. With the IW2MW International Water & Waste Management Workshop being the first one. Together with other European network organizations, from different sectors active in the circular economy, Water Alliance organized a networking and matchmaking session on the topics water and waste.
During the session participants also got to discover all about European funding. With Walloon President Minister Di Rupo opening the session and Prof. Jiri Wanner, water expert, speaking about current EU affairs, there was a lot of knowledge for the taking. This was underlined by a constant flow of questions from the audience.
Well known for its (water) resourcefulness Water Alliance members CirTec and Desah, took the stage to captivate the audience with their unique solutions to pressing global problems.
Marit van Veen from CirTec pitched how the saving and reuse of materials (cellulose) is crucial to maintain a good and healthy environment for future generations. As they strive for access to water and wastewater services for all.
Paraschos Chatzopoulos spoke about how DeSah develops sustainable innovations that can be used cost-effectively within the (decentralized) water chain making sustainable, compact, cost-effective wastewater treatment a reality.
Later in the afternoon Hein Molenkamp took the limelight and spoke about the innovative ecosystem that is WaterCampus Leeuwarden. Main message to the audience, no (water) issue is too big (or small) for the Dutch, as experts in accelerating water technology businesses and connecting parties.
Given the large number of participants this session proved to hit the right note. The atmosphere was pleasant, as there was a lot of time to meet possible new business partners. Also the lunch during the session wasn’t too bad either.
Later in the afternoon the EU project euWater4i-SD was host to its inaugural international event: the Innovation Forum, The objective of the Innovation Forum was for companies to get to know each other in order to develop partnerships, find synergies and better promote their solutions together in Latin American and Eastern African countries. Keynote Speaker Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart as pioneer of the Cradle to Cradle design concept did enjoy a lot of attention. Following his speech it was up to the gathered companies to pitch their unique story. Among them was Water Alliance member Colubris Lex van Dijk was given the floor and pitched their view on how to accelerate the circular economy.
At the end of Tuesday it was time for some typical Dutch hospitality at the networking reception at the NL Pavilion. What to expect? Dutch cheese and Heineken beer, but moreover a great atmosphere to (re)connect with peers.
Linda Mieden-Appelboom, the deputy Consul-General & Head Economic Dept. Consulate General of the Netherlands in Munich opened the event and underlined the great relationship between the Netherlands and Germany. The German-Dutch power hour was further supported by the NL Business Hub Munich personified in Roel Westra. The large number of participants confirmed this positive tone set by them.
For Water Alliance members the 1st of June held a special surprise, as a members-only-dinner is one of the perks of being a member of Water Alliance. And what is Munich without a visit to the local Stube, as Munich is famous for its beer and the annual Oktoberfest celebration. The hospitable city certainly didn’t disappoint, warm and informal.
A good atmosphere typically guarantees little sleep or at least for the Water Alliance companies participating in breakfast meeting the following morning. The breakfast network meeting organised together with Umwelcluster Bayern started in the best possible way, with a breakfast fuelling the mind and possibly business between the German and Dutch innovative companies. Hein Molenkamp and Dr. Eva Schichl (Umweltcluster Bayern) opened the breakfast. Some companies were pre-matched, others met spontaneously. They discussed current topics, got to know each other’s tech and even some spoke about possible co-operations.
If we would characterize IFAT in just a few words: ‘upbeat in a restless world’ would do it just. Asking around we heard many stories. All in all it was a positive event and most participants (exhibitors and visitors) left Munich on a high, wanting more.