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King opens The Gallery

Innovative, technological, high-tech, cooperation, cross-pollination, Silicon Valley of the Netherlands, largest incubator, source of new jobs, largest display window. This is only a selection of all the terms used to describe The Gallery. Last week, King Willem-Alexander officially opened this new centre for innovation on the University of Twente campus. 

Five pupils who won the Lego Solar Race earlier the year presented the King with a key freshly printed by a 3D printer just before. The tower of The Gallery was wrapped in orange cloth for the occasion, which was supposed to fall down after the King had turned the key. The suspense of the audience became almost unbearable when the cloth did not drop immediately, but after about thirty seconds it finally happened and The Gallery was officially opened.

Before the King performed the opening there was a special guest who entertained the crowd that had flocked to the campus en masse: the new Campus robot of the University of Twente. This robot, with its own personality, is capable of exploring the environment and independently guiding small groups of people around cultural places. Later this year the robot will independently move around the UT campus.  

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Earlier in the day King Willem-Alexander and a hall filled with invitees were welcomed by host Roelof Hemmen. He presented a programme in which innovation and entrepreneurship were key. The visitors were welcomed by Rob de Koning of company technology centre BTC Twente and by Victor van der Chijs, President of the Executive Board of the University of Twente. According to Van der Chijs, The Gallery is an accession for the UT and the region. "The UT is the entrepreneurial university. Entrepreneurship is part of our DNA. This development is a perfect fit."

After an interview with Kees Eijkel, Director of Kennispark Twente, and Wim Boomkamp, President of the Executive Board of Saxion, who explained the added value of The Gallery to those present, it was time for the entrepreneurs. Hemmen interviewed several Twente entrepreneurs on stage: from starting entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs who have already won their spurs twice over. The conclusion of the interviews was that entrepreneurship requires perseverance and persistance after any setbacks. Because of all The Gallery's facilities, the UT and Saxion in the vicinity, and the presence of other entrepreneurs, The Gallery can function as an ideal ecosystem to spur on and get the best out of entrepreneurs and companies. 

The Gallery

The Gallery offers accommodation and high-quality facilities for knowledge-intensive companies, open innovation centres and service desks for innovative companies. With that, the building is a 300-metre long landmark for innovation in Twente. The Gallery is located in the former building for Chemical Engineering of the University of Twente. The building is a display window for knowledge-intensive industriousness at the 'Lane of Innovation' in Enschede. Phase I has been officially opened today and consists of over 13,000 m2. The largest part of this space has already been rented out. In total, The Gallery will be expanded to 45,000 m2.

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Pictures: Eric Brinkhorst & Pollus Fornerod