1 April 2016

Strengthening the Singapore-Netherlands Partnership on Water: a week with Henk Ovink, Netherlands Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of the Netherlands (14-18 March 2016)

“In their unique ways, Singapore and the Netherlands have been leading in water innovation. Singaporean and Dutch experts have the ability to jointly generate a crucial push towards resilience in the ASEAN region.” – Mr. Henk Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of the Netherlands

Mr. Henk Ovink was invited by Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC, Ministry of National Development) to come to Singapore for a week-long fellowship at CLC. The Embassy of the Netherlands, DutchCham (Dutch Chamber of Commerce) and the Netherlands Water House (network of Dutch water companies and institutes in Singapore) saw this as a wonderful opportunity to organize various water events in conjunction with his visit. Due to NUSDeltares’ involvement in the Netherlands Water House, NUSDeltares Governing Board member Tom Schilperoort, Acting Director Lydia Lim, Hanne van den Berg, Helena Hulsman and Ruben Dahm were able to take part in most of the events, which took place last week.

The events included a workshop session on Marine Spatial Planning by CLC, a breakfast event organized by the DutchCham, a high-level CEO lunch hosted by PUB and the Embassy of the Netherlands, a public lecture by Henk Ovink at CLC, a session with regional Netherlands Embassy experts on strategic water cooperation (with representatives from Dutch Embassies in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea, New Zealand and Australia), and a lunch hosted by NUSDeltares with Mr. Henk Ovink, Prof. Tommy Koh (Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large, Chairman of Advisory Panel NUSDeltares), Distinguished Prof. Philip Liu (Vice President Research and Technology at NUS, Governing Board of NUSDeltares) and Dr. Tom Schilperoort (Director Singapore Operations at Deltares, Governing Board of NUSDeltares).

Mr. Ovink’s visit was a great opportunity to learn from his experience on how to consolidate NUSDeltares’ integrated Singapore-Netherlands approach to applied research and specialist consultancy for further joint technology transfer to the ASEAN region. His visit has furthermore helped to strengthen our collaboration with both the Netherlands government and CLC in Singapore, and to establish connections with other Singaporean and Dutch parties operating in the water or maritime sector. A fruitful week!


  • MNDs Centre for Liveable Cities organized a session on Marine Spatial Planning, in which Henk Ovink shared experiences of developing and implementing the Marine Spatial Planning process in the Netherlands and Europe(14 March, photo credit: Centres for Livable Cities)


  • The Netherlands Water House has a session with Henk Ovink in which we explored how we can work together to strengthen the positioning of the Netherlands water sector, and intensify cooperation with Singaporean water companies(15 March, photo credit: Mr. Frodo van Oostveen)


  • Networking Lunch on “Water Innovation for Urban Resilience lunch was hosted by PUB and the Embassy of the Netherlands and facilitated a discussion on how to strengthen collaboration between the Singapore and Netherlands water sectors (16 March, photo credit: Mr. Frodo van Oostveen)


  • In a session with representatives from Embassies of the Netherlands in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia and various representatives from the Netherlands Water Sector, we discussed how to tap into the available knowledge and experience of the Singapore and Netherlands water sectors to better tackle water challenges in the region(17 March, photo credit: Mr. Frodo van Oostveen)


  • During lunch meeting organized by NUSDeltares, Mr. Henk Ovink, Prof. Tommy Koh, Distinguished Prof. Philip Liu, Dr. Tom Schilperoort, Ms. Lydia Lim, and Ms. Sandra Schoof exchanged views on how NUSDeltares could best share its expertise, solutions and tools in the wider region(18 March, photo credit: Ms.Sandra Schoof)

To see the Delta-life magazine interview with Mr. Henk Ovink and Mr. Jaap Kwadijk, please click here.