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Villa Flora

“Venlo is putting the theme of healthy nutrition on a world stage.”

In late June, the Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo hosted a two-day international conference that focused on nutrition. Over 300 participants from Europe as well as the U.S., Asia and the Middle East travelled to the striking Villa Flora just off the A73 highway to soak up all the knowledge they could during presentations by dozens of speakers, gather materials on the latest developments at the information market, and network with colleagues. Students, entrepreneurs, scientists, potential investors and researchers: these are the people who are involved in the developments in healthy food and innovative production methods.

Success

“An extremely successful event.” This is a description that Saskia Goetgeluk, CEO of Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo, and Pieter Hermans of the organizer, Jakajima, can definitely agree on.

Hermans: “We certainly received a lot of positive feedback at any rate. The small scale of the event makes networking easier, more informal and accessible. We have already agreed that next year’s event will have the same format, and be held at the same location. The central location clearly draws a lot of foreign participants, but the new labs and the combination of knowledge workers and business are also appealing to visitors. This is not something you see in many other parts of the world. And there is of course the drive and ambition present at the location. We have already organized various events at the campuses in Venlo and Geleen, and we have noticed that Limburgers are eager to set trends. They are pro-active, and members of the scientific and business communities work with government agencies such as the Province and LIOF here. This resonates with me, and obviously also the participants.”

Goetgeluk adds: “Here in Venlo, we are putting the theme of healthy nutrition on a world stage with this type of cooperation. An event with such high visitor numbers like this one is generating the kind of enthusiasm about the theme and Brightlands Campus Greenport Venlo that we had hoped for.”

Themes

The conference was divided up into four themes, spread out over two days: 3D Food Printing, Vertical Farming, Healthy Nutrition and Smart Farming.

“Last year, we focused entirely on 3D Food Printing. This was so successful that the story even made the eight o’clock news. We wanted to expand our focus this time, however. The fact that the four themes are closely related to one another was confirmed during the event. A few of the participants even attended almost all of the sessions during the two days, demonstrating their interest in and curiosity about what was being presented, even in subjects that went beyond their own specific fields. This is crucial since cooperation and knowledge-sharing in the food sector is the best recipe for innovation. This is made even easier in an innovative environment like the Brightlands Campus at Villa Flora.”