On 25 May 2023, the Confederation of Danish Industry hosted the Grand Water Day and invited the Netherlands to share its vision on the global water sector. The Netherlands Water Partnership was one of the keynote speakers, and was requested and given the opportunity to share the Dutch approach and philosophy towards water.
Similarities between the Danish and Dutch approaches
Like the Netherlands, Denmark is a leading country when it comes to water. Denmark is particularly well-positioned in topics such as reducing water waste and climate-neutral wastewater management, as well as sustainable climate adaptation solutions. Even though Denmark and the Netherlands are both leaders in terms of technological development and exporting sustainable water solutions, there is ample opportunity to learn from each other. Both in terms of national regulations and exports, but also on research and much more. Danish and Dutch companies share many similarities: highly skilled, driven by innovation, and operating in relatively small home markets which forces them to look beyond their respective national borders.
Pivotal role for the private sector in achieving the SDGs
The Dutch perspective was explained in a video message from Henk Ovink, Special Envoy of International Water Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. He detailed the results of the UN2023 Water Conference held last March in New York, USA. He underlined the importance of following up on this momentum and he stressed the pivotal role for the private sector in achieving the SDGs. Following Henk Ovink’s speech, Arjan Braamskamp of the Netherlands Water Partnership presented the state of the Dutch water sector and the reason why and how the Dutch have earned their reputation as global leaders in water. He pointed out that the Dutch sense of urgency, their ability to turn threats into opportunities, the renowned multi-stakeholder and integrated approach, and a continued focus on cross-sectoral collaboration are key to this achievement.
Partnerships between the Danish and the Dutch
NWP’s presentation addressed the ongoing partnerships and collaborations in the fields of urban and climate resilience. A well-known example is the Big U Manhattan project by One Architecture and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which was the result of the Dutch-led efforts towards Rebuild by Design in response to Superstorm Sandy (2012).
Other speakers included Esther Bosman, originally from the Netherlands and recently appointed Global Director Water for the Danish powerhouse Ramboll. The Honourable Feng Tie, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Danish Minister for the Environment, Magnus Heunicke, also presented.
Continuing the conversation
NWP is grateful for the invitation as keynote speaker, as the Danish Industry Grand Water Day was an opportunity to reconnect with Denmark and follow-up on conversations at the recent IWA Conference in Copenhagen in 2022. The Netherlands Embassy in Denmark, the Confederation of Danish Industry, and NWP are hopeful that other opportunities for Danish and Dutch companies to collaborate will occur in the near future, possibly in international consortia focused on global water challenges outside their home markets.
About the Confederation of Danish Industry
The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) Water Department brings together the leading and largest players in the Danish water sector, with the goal of helping solve the world's water, wastewater and climate adaptation problems. They are working towards doubling the export of Danish water technology and know-how to DKK 40 billion (approx. EUR 5.5 billion) by 2030. DI Water Department is the umbrella organisation for the 60 most important companies in Denmark across utilities, and includes consulting companies, and manufacturers of water components and water technologies. Contact us if you wish to connect with the Confederation of Danish Industry Water Department, or if you are interested in a bilateral Dutch-Danish relationship. We would be happy to make a connection.