Dutch artists, creatives head for SXSW 2016 

More than 45 Dutch artists, creatives, and companies will participate in the music, film, and interactive programs of South by Southwest (SXSW) March 11-20. Innovation in art, technology, and music thrives in the Netherlands. Dutch creatives in the fields of virtual reality, gaming, music, film, design, and transmedia storytelling will take the stage in Austin, Texas, where SXSW presents the ideal platform for the Dutch to celebrate their centuries of start-up culture while in the heart of the American southwest.

Consistent contributions to innovation by the Dutch make the Netherlands a hotbed of entrepreneurship and innovation. Dutch artists including Simon Heijdens and Nick Verstand, and musicians Sevdaliza, zZz, and Amber Arcades will join companies VRmaster, OWOW, IDFA Doclab, and Submarine Channel, to name a few, to present the latest innovation from the Netherlands.

“Dutch innovation is world renowned, and will be on full display in Austin,” said Henne Schuwer, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United States. “The Netherlands believes in supporting invention, collaboration, risk, art, and science. There is no better place in the world to show our contributions to the fields of gaming, music, interactive storytelling, virtual reality, design, film and technology than at South by Southwest.”

The Dutch presence at SXSW will delve into the world of virtual reality (VR) and explore how VR can help people deal with the loss of a loved one. “Fragments of Him” by Sassybot Studio uses interactive storytelling to illustrate ways people can cope with bereavement.  Dutch creatives will also look at how the use of scent can enhance storytelling. Designer Marcel van Brakel will lead a workshop on this, and media developer Frederik Duerinck will take part in a panel session about the theme of scent.

SXSW also presents Dutch innovation in gaming and VR with games for dealing with fear and depression. The meditative VR game “Deep,” developed by Owen Harris in association with Niki Smit (Monobanda), counteracts stress, angst, and mild depression. “The Shoebox Diorama” by interactive illustrator Daniel Ernst unleashes the user in a labyrinth of interactive VR games and stories. While experimental interactive stories, such as “EXIT” by the Dutch-American duo Jongsma and O’Neill, will let attendees experience an alternative to fatalistic thinking about the end of time. IDFA DocLab, which is also part of the Dutch SXSW selection, will offer a cross-sectional sample of these VR developments with a showcase of projects.

Highlights of the Dutch at SXSW:

March 11-20: The Dutch innovation of Simon Heijdens will give visitors the chance to get away from it all with his “Silent Room” installation. The “Silent Room” will let festival goers step into pure silence in a fully soundproof chamber in the heart of SXSW. In this unmediated space, each person will experience absolute and complete silence. This installation of “Silent Room,” commissioned by SXSW, will serve as the project’s world debut.

March 11-15: ANIMA interactive art installation by Nick Verstand. ANIMA is a three-dimensional sphere that investigates communication between humans and an artificial intelligence. ANIMA interprets the visitor’s body movements and responds in kind with an array of audiovisual expressions. ANIMA is part of Art at SXSW, a platform for artists to gain international exposure and connect with leaders in the fields of music, film, and technology.

March 12, 14, and 17: US premiere of the film, “Bodkin Ras” by Kaweh Modiri. Filmed in Scotland, “Bodkin Ras” is a hybrid of documentary and fiction blended together to tell the story of one man’s search for home.

March 13-16: Dutch Trade Show in booths 1309 and 1311 at the Austin Convention Center will showcase the reasons why Holland is Europe’s launching pad for start-ups. The Amsterdam booth at SXSW will be a meeting place for Dutch companies and international start-ups. Launch Pad sessions will allow start-ups the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with Dutch start-ups. Entrepreneurs can also learn how to acquire a “start-up visa” that will give them the opportunity to apply for a temporary residence permit in the Netherlands to launch an innovative business.

March 14: The Royal Netherlands Embassy hosts a reception at Brush Square Park from 2-4 p.m. celebrating Dutch creative culture at the festival. Representatives from the various Dutch creative industries including artist Simon Heijdens, and film director Kaweh Modiri will attend.

March 16: The Dutch Impact Party features a standout group of musicians including Amber Arcades, Sevdaliza, zZz, PAUW and Eerie Wanda. The Dutch Impact Party is part of the 2nd annual FLOODfest at SXSW, organized by FLOOD magazine and Dutch Impact. Additionally, Dutch musicians Janne Schra, traumahelikopter, Azure Hiptronics and Sofie Winterson will perform at various venues throughout the festival.

Posted by Saskia Pardaans March 06, 2016 Categories: Austin

If a storm hits Houston...... 

protection is less costly than recovery

In 2008, Hurricane Ike slammed the Houston-Galveston region, making landfall on the Texas coast with maximum sustained winds of 112 miles per hour and  storm surge of 12-15 feet. Even though the Houston-Galveston region avoided the predicted direct hit, Hurricane Ike killed 80 people and caused economic damages totaling over $39 billion. Imagine the consequences if Ike had made a direct hit.

The clock continues to tick. Major hurricanes hit the upper Texas coast approximately every 14 years. History and science concur that such a “direct hit” threat to the region is not a matter of if, but when, it will occur.

This is not just a Houston-Galveston problem. The nation’s security and economy are extremely vulnerable during a storm surge event. At risk are the livelihoods and well-being of millions of residents, their properties, jobs and businesses. Devastating impacts include:

  • Disrupting transportation, including the interstate system, railroads and waterborne commerce
  • Closing ports, including the Port of Houston, the nation’s busiest port in foreign tonnage
  • Shutting down the nation’s largest petrochemical complex, which supplies 27 percent of America’s gasoline and 60 percent of the fuel used by the U.S. Department of Defense, causing fuel shortages and price increases on goods that use petrochemicals, including pharmaceuticals, plastic resins, detergents, cosmetics, and other synthetics
  • Irreparable environmental damage

Multiple lines of defense are being considered to provide comprehensive storm surge protection for the region. Texas A&M University at Galveston remains focused on further developing the proven method to stop the surge at the coast using a continuous coastal barrier or spine, also known as the Ike Dike Concept, based on proven technologies that have been used in The Netherlands and other parts of the world for decades. Meanwhile, the SSPEED Center at Rice University is concentrating its efforts on suppressing surge using barriers internal to the Galveston Bay system and non-structural alternatives.

Through coordinated and collaborative research efforts, both TAMUG and the SSPEED Center are committed to the development of a single surge protection plan that has multiple lines of defense to achieve the best overall solution for the region from an economic, environmental and social perspective.

For the past four years, regional momentum has been building to implement storm surge protection, recognizing that the region is every bit as exposed today to the devastating effects of storm surge as it was in 2008. More than 30 cities and municipalities, economic and industry organizations, such as the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, the East Harris County Manufacturers Association and the Harris County Mayors’ and Councils’ Association, have formally stated their support for storm surge protection.

It’s imperative that a collaborative plan for regional protection be developed and submitted for congressional approval and funding. First, however, a comprehensive initiative is underway to conduct several necessary studies, including an economic impact analysis; barrier design modeling; landscape integration; a calculation of cost/benefit ratios; and environmental mitigation

Texas has always prided itself on being a “can do” state, never being the kind to look for a handout. Although this is usually looked on as an admirable quality, in the case of storm surge protection, I think that it has been a detriment to our progress. Perhaps a greater deterrent has been the lack of political leadership up until now.

It is crucial that the Legislature supports a coastal barrier system, and it’s going to take strong political leadership to spearhead such a bill through the next legislative session in 2017. The people, homes and industries of the upper Texas coast, as well as the state's and nation's economy, must be protected. We cannot expect Congress to appropriate the necessary funds unless we stand united in this cause.

We can wait until our hopes and dreams, and possibly our lives, are swept out to sea when the next big hurricane hits, or we can do something now. Unfortunately, we too often are committed to recovery rather than protection. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick.

Bob Mitchell

President, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership

Posted by Saskia Pardaans March 04, 2016 Categories: Economy Water

BNR Nieuwsradio  

In alle staten


BNR Nieuwsradio grijpt de Amerikaanse verkiezingsstrijd aan om het ondernemersklimaat in alle 50 staten te onderzoeken. Iedere week lichten ze een andere staat uit. Per staat kunt u luisteren naar de radio uitzending, vindt u een korte samenvatting en leest u verhalen van Nederlandse ondernemers, tips & tricks van locals en een speciale column van Bernard Hammelburg.

Op 1 maart stond de staat Texas centraal. Derk de Vos heeft Joris de Vos van Van Leeuwen Pipe & Tube LLC en Saskia Pardaans, Chief Representative van the Netherlands Business Support Office geïnterviewd.

Heeft u de uitzending gemist, dan kunt u alsnog luisteren naar het  gehele interview en u kunt het verslag lezen van de uitzending

Wordt u ook zo enthousiast over Texas, neem dan contact ons op!


March 03, 2016