Burgemeester Bijeenkomst Franse Kamer van Koophandel (CCI France Pays-Bas)
Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen
Computerweg, Econocom, 11 september 2019
Monsieur Toutant, cher Yann, merci de votre aimable présentation. Messieurs et Mesdames, monsieur l’ambassadeur, cher Luis.
Tout d’abord, je tiens à vous féliciter à l'occasion du quarantième anniversaire de la Chambre de commerce française aux Pays-Bas.
Depuis quarante ans, vous êtes un maillon important et indispensable dans la promotion des échanges commerciaux entre la France et les Pays-Bas et dans le renforcement de nos relations commerciales.
Merci aussi, d'avoir mis ce lieu à disposition. C'est vraiment formidable que Econocom ait choisi Utrecht. Je connais votre entreprise comme une organization qui combine de manière unique l'expertise technologique et financière, et qui accroît ainsi la souplesse et le succès des organisations.
C'est un atout pour Utrecht, et je suis convaincu que notre ville vous apportera beaucoup. Je suis ravi de pouvoir voir votre nouvel établissement ce soir. Permettez-moi maintenant de continuer en anglaise.
Excellentie, Dear all,
Before this meeting I had the opportunity to meet the new French ambassador to the Netherlands, His Excellency Mr Vassy. It is his first job as ambassador and I convinced him that the Netherlands is a great country to start your career with as ambassador.
Because relations between Utrecht and France are long-standing and deep. A long collaboration. An intensive cooperation. Politically and culturally. But also in the field of economy, technology, research and innovation.
Nobody needs to convince us of the value of France as a source of business opportunities. As for ourselves, modesty is one of our traditional virtues, but, I’d like to say that Utrecht has several times been declared by the European Commission as most competitive region in Europe.
One of our strengths: being the ability to combine the forces of science, government and business life, which offers ample opportunities for foreign partners to join in.
To do business, using existing alliances to enhance upcoming possibilities. A great example of this is We Drive Solar. Winner of a Business Award of this chamber of commerce in 2018 and 2019. I would like to tell you more about this tonight.
Maybe last week you read that the Dutch government is spending 5 million euros on placing hundreds of smart charging stations in 21 Dutch cities. A total of 20 new so-called 'charging centres' will be appearing in Utrecht. State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven calls these charging stations 'the future'.
And the great thing is that these smart charging stations were developed by the Utrecht company We Drive Solar in cooperation with Renault.
Last March, King Willem-Alexander opened this new system in Utrecht. A wonderful collaboration between Renault, Lomboxnet, ElaadNL and the city of Utrecht.
A world first that hopefully will soon be the norm. Thanks to this Franco-Dutch cooperation. No French revolution. No Dutch revolution. But a French-Dutch solution!
A new chapter to the close French-Dutch cooperation. A major step... Because: We Drive Solar is an existing programme that will help us achieving our climate goals for 2050.
Nearly 200 countries came together in 2015 to agree on:
- to reduce climate change,
- and implement the energy transition....
Working on a healthy urban living, also in Utrecht.
Big ambitions that call for a new way of thinking, acting and living. And new solutions. France and the Netherlands want to play a pioneering role in this. Including the developing of concrete and innovative solutions together.
This smart charging station is in different ways a true innovation. A solar-powered charging station that can charge, discharge and return charge. So that a charged electric car can return solar power to homes in the evening.
With We Drive Solar, the electric car is a zero-emission means of transport, and, thanks to this innovative station, also becomes an electricity supplier.
A power plant on wheels. Such a simple theory. But this world first involves more
than just a good idea. The technology had to be developed. Extensive testing was required. But above all: parties who believed in the concept and were prepared to support and promote this.
This resulted in something very special here in Utrecht. As mayor and a resident of Utrecht, I am proud that this city is the living lab for We Drive Solar and Renault. Because We Drive Solar ties in perfectly with the ambitions of Utrecht.
Utrecht region is the heart of one of the world’s most densely populated countries and is expanding rapidly. Within 15 years, our population will have increased by 20 percent.
Utrecht sees itself faced with many urban challenges. These urban challenges are: climate change, densification, air quality and equitable access to health systems, resulted in the Utrecht approach of Healthy Urban Living for everyone.
We belief strongly that urban development strategies should make people happier,
our environment healthier and our economy more sustainable.
As an electric car-sharing concept, We Drive Solar fits in perfectly with our ambition to achieve more efficient and cleaner mobility. And I am pleased that Renault recognizes Utrecht as a living lab for innovations and new technologies. It started in march of this year with small steps. With two Renaults Zoë.
Smart French technology that can communicate with a Dutch charging station. With no language barrier! These two cars are a great start. And it will show us how smart this technology is.
Our next step is to scale up and make volume. So that everyone can participate in We Drive Solar.
Another good example of the great French-Dutch cooperation is of course Danone-Nutricia. Also winner of a Business Award this year.
Danone aims to inspire healthier and more sustainable eating and drinking practices, in line with the One Planet - One Health vision which reflects a strong belief that the health of people and the health of the planet are interconnected.
So this approach also fits perfectly in our program Healthy Urban Living for everyone. As you know The Danone Nutricia Research Center is one of the two global Research Centers of Danone. It means a lot for this city that a company of this size is located in Utrecht.
These are just two examples of the great French-Dutch cooperation. I’m convinced that with the companies and institutions represented here, we will continue our attempts to raise boundaries in many areas.
Wish you all a great evening.