In a couple of weeks, we can again enjoy the dozens of events of the Dutch Technology Week. The tenth edition of this annual spectacle will take place from May 31 to June 5. Last year, the program had to be hastily adjusted due to the corona crisis, so a couple of online events could still take place. Fortunately, this year there was more time to arrange everything. Even though things are very different from previous years, project manager Monique de Wit is ready for it.
“Of course we had hoped that we could organize an in-person DTW again this year but we already saw in the fall of 2020 that this was not feasible,” says De Wit. “That is why I am very happy that we said in time that we would do everything in our power to organize a safe version of our beautiful event.”
This secure variant will consist of online as well as hybrid activities. Exactly how many physical activities can take place still remains to be seen. “We hope that at the DTW Talks we can still welcome a small number of participants. We’re not sure about that yet, so we might still facilitate it at a later moment”, De Wit says.
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The High Tech Discovery Route – traditionally one of the highlights of the event – may still be possible, albeit on a smaller scale. In previous years, the general public was able to take a look behind the scenes at tech companies on the various campuses in the Eindhoven region and other places in the country. De Wit: “In any case, the Discovery Route cannot continue in that original form. We’re not going to invite big crowds. But very possibly, we can turn it into a small-scale High Tech Hike.”
De Wit is sure that a number of activities will continue in their original shape: “These will mainly take place in primary and secondary schools. For example, our partners from Mission Tech are organizing real activities in a number of elementary school classes. They are going to demonstrate how a chain reaction works. The plan is for 15,000 pupils from our region to participate.”
All over the Netherlands
There are also plenty of opportunities for children outside the Brainport region. For example, it is expected that about 100,000 pupils from the last two groups of primary education and the first two classes of secondary education will participate in the largest national digital escape room. These kids will come from all over the Netherlands. “The escape room is facilitated by Upgrade NL, the DTW is a co-initiator in this. Their mission is to make the whole of the Netherlands tech-savvy,” says De Wit.
Other online activities around education include a digital quiz for elementary schools and online speed dating for secondary school students and young professionals. “That’s super cool, of course,” says De Wit enthusiastically. “In addition, there are online events that we as DTW organize ourselves, such as the DTW Talks for professionals and students, and events organized by our event partners. An example is a lecture on cyborgs by TU Eindhoven’s Studium Generale.”
The Smart Industry Annual Event will also take place during the DTW. “And then there is the well-known Quiz Night XL that will again take place online this year as the Science + Tech Online Quiz. So please all join in!” De Wit continues: “You see, we have really put together a super cool program.”
Fortunately, the switch from in-person to online was not too difficult for her. She says: “In 2020, we had already gained experience with digitizing various events. This year, we were able to approach it more gradually because we have been working on a new DTW since October. We also never had a go/no-go moment. It was quickly clear that we had to go for a safe variant and after that, it all went pretty smoothly. I only regret that we now have virtually no physical appointments with our partners.”
De Wit found it interesting to see how everyone managed to get the best out of the situation: “Look at how we managed to keep the focus on technology promotion, for example. That is still very much needed. I’m very proud that we can continue to do that in an appropriate way.”
The partners have played a big role in this, and De Wit is very grateful to them for that: “Our partners have stayed with us during this difficult time. This says a lot about the need but also the commitment of the tech companies and other partners. Without them, there is no DTW.”
The website with (part of) the program of the DTW 2021 is now online: https://www.dutchtechnologyweek.com/ De Wit invites everyone to take a look here; registrations for various events is already open.