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October 28, 2015

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Cooperation bearing fruits for partners

CHINA and the Netherlands are different from each other in many ways, but they have found common ground for mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of sectors. Currently there are some 900 Dutch companies in China. Their expertise and know-how in healthcare, water management, smart city, agriculture, education and creative industries have provided good solutions to Chinese partners.

Sustainable fashion

During the Dutch Days in Shanghai in May, a student fashion design competition put spotlight on the growing trend of sustainability in fashion in the Netherlands.

The competition, “Innovation on the Frontiers of Fashion,” was held by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Shanghai and Shanghai International College of Fashion and Innovation, Donghua University.

Eight students from the college designed garments with recyclable materials from Waste2wear, a fabric brand of the Dutch company Vision Textiles. Students also printed patterns on shirts with a unique printing technique developed by Pactics, an environmentally friendly microfiber producer.

Winning designs selected by a panel of six judges will be shown at the exhibition, “Future of Fashion is Now,” in Shanghai and Dutch Queen Máxima is expected to attend the show.

Through the competition, Chinese students realized the importance of recycling and sustainability. “The competition is a good experience for me,” said Zhu Ziyi, who won the first prize in T-shirt pattern design. “It inspires me to put more thoughts into fashion design.”

Monique Maissan, founder of Vision Textiles, said the competition was intended to bring innovation to textile education in China and show new developments in earth-friendly fabrics.

Maissan founded her business in Shanghai in 1998. The woman entrepreneur was impressed by China’s potentials when she first visited the country 23 years ago.

Vision Textiles has evolved from a fabrics wholesaler to a leading fabrics manufacturer with markets in India, the United States, Malaysia, Singapore and Europe. Waste2Wear is a brand of fabrics made of recycled plastic bottles.

With more than 20 years of experiences in the textile business, Maissan tries to instill eco-consciousness into her business.

The Future of Fashion is Now will be held from today through February 28, 2016 at the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal in Shanghai. The exhibition, originally shown in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in the autumn of 2014, presents the fashion of the future as seen by the newest generation of fashion designers. More than 25 young fashion professionals from across the world, including eight from China, were invited to submit work. The exhibition also includes designs by respected Dutch innovators like Viktor & Rolf, Iris van Herpen and Pauline van Dongen.


Dutch technology and know-how in sustainable horticulture contributed to the construction of the National Engineering Research Center of Protected Agriculture (NERCPA), one of the most advanced greenhouses in China.

Located in the city’s Chongming Island, the center has 21,000 square meters of greenhouses where tomato, cucumber, strawberry and other crops are cultivated.

Shanghai Dushi Green Engineering Co Ltd built the center as a showcase of scientific and sustainable technologies in the production of vegetables and fruits. Dutch company Priva B.V. provided climate control solutions and management service.

NERCPA is the good example of Sino-Dutch cooperation. Its greenhouses were designed by Dutch company BOM; construction was carried out by Dushi Green; equipment installation was done by Voshol; Installect designed the Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage system; ArendSosef took care of the irrigation system, and Codema was responsible for internal pump circuits.

Chongming Island is often referred as the “green lungs of Shanghai.” NERCPA gives top priority to environmental protection and food safety. The use of geothermal technology makes it possible to use less energy for cooling and heating. NERCPA is also a training center for Chinese farmers to learn green, energy-saving cultivation.


The renovation of Shanghai No. 3 Nursing Home is a good example of Sino-Dutch cooperation in healthcare. Built in 1960s, the facility underwent modification between 2006 and 2009 and reopened as the city’s first nursing home for seniors with dementia.

The Rotterdam Department of Social Affairs and Employment and the Rotterdam Laurens Foundation provided professional advice for its renovation and sent four veteran nurses from De Naber Residential Center to train Chinese colleagues in nursing skills.

Located in Baoshan District in north Shanghai, the nursing home has 400 beds and has its own geriatricians. Unlike other elderly care institutions, Shanghai No. 3 Nursing Home provides Dutch-style care and services. Most of the rooms have twin beds and allow patients to put up family photos to create home atmosphere.

Old folks there are encouraged to rely on themselves as much as possible to train and maintain their abilities. This is contrary to the notion of most Chinese that nursing home assistants should do as much as possible for seniors to avoid accidents.

Because of its contribution to Shanghai in elderly care, Laurens Foundation received the Magnolia Silver Award from the municipal government in 2012. Every year, the foundation is invited by the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau for a meeting to exchange information and discuss cooperation projects.

Sino-Dutch collaboration in healthcare has been fruitful.

This March, Huangdu Community Health Center in Jiading District and Yanghang Community Health Center in Baoshan District formed partnership with two Rotterdam medical centers, Lijn2 and Levinas, respectively. They will cooperate mainly in elderly care and primary health care.

Last year, Shanghai Shenkang Hospital Development Center signed a letter of intent with the Dutch Hospital Association for cooperation in hospital management. This month, Shenkang sent nine people to the Netherlands for a 10-day executive course on hospital management.

Two years ago, the Dutch Consulate in Shanghai and the Baoshan District government reached an agreement to facilitate exchange and cooperation in rehabilitation medicine between Shanghai No. 2 Rehabilitation Hospital and Dutch rehabilitation professionals.

Water management

The Netherlands is a country with rich experiences in flood control and water management. Dutch experts have played a big role in helping the Chinese to address water issues. Nijhuis Industries, for example, signed a contract with Inner Mongolia Kerchin Cattle Industry Co Ltd to help its Chinese partner design a waste water treatment facility and a water supply system.

Dutch technology and equipment provided by Nijhuis can raise the Chinese company’s waste water treatment rate to 99 percent and oil removal rate to 94 percent. As a result, recycled water can reach grade-A in the National Water Quality Standard. Kerchin Cattle Industry will pump purified water into an artificial lake and use the water for cattle washing.

Nijhuis’ water purification system allows Kerchin Cattle Industry to save 1,200 tons of water a day or 438,000 tons a year. This is a good solution for drought-frequent north China to save its groundwater.

The Netherlands has about 2,000 companies specialized in flood control and water management. They are well-known for their expertise in hydraulic engineering, flood prevention and river management.

Deltares is an independent consultant in water resources management. The Dutch company teamed up with Ewaters Environmental Science & Technology (Shanghai) Co Ltd and the Pudong Bureau of Hydrology and Water Resources to develop a flood warning system.

The Delft FEWS forecasting system provided by Deltare will offer real-time monitoring of meteorological and hydrological data and provide storm and flood warnings through real-time simulation.

Smart city

The Sino-Dutch cooperation has expanded into the area of smart city development as authorities worldwide are increasingly turning to technology to improve efficiency of urban services.

Dutch Vice Minister for Foreign Trade Marten van den Berg, who is on a state visit to China, delivers an opening speech at the Sino-Dutch Pudong Smart City Development Seminar today, underscoring the joint effort of the two countries in the field.

Jointly organized by the Dutch Consulate-General in Shanghai and Shanghai Pudong Smart City Research Institute, the seminar is designed to exchange interesting cases related to smart city developments in both China and the Netherlands, with focuses on smart building, smart community, big data and smart mobility.

The collaboration between GreenPeak Technologies, a Dutch semiconductor and software company, and ZTE Health, a subsidiary of Shenzhen-based ZTE Group, is one of the cases presented at the seminar.

In March, GreenPeak Technologies signed a deal with ZTE Health to develop smart solutions for the world’s aging population. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte oversaw the agreement signing in Shanghai.

The two companies will produce a product called Senior Lifestyle System. Based on GreenPeak’s expertise in smart sensor communication, the system can track a person’s daily routine and send alerts to his or her relatives or care givers when something goes wrong. Requiring no cameras or wearing of devices, the system is unobtrusive and protects the person’s privacy.

“China has nearly 200 million people aged over 60 and about 50 million of them live alone. The Senior Lifestyle System allows children and their elderly parents to privately share lifestyle information, making the seniors to feel safe and live longer at home independently,” said Frans Frielink, vice president of GreenPeak.

“This smart solution creates new opportunities for operators and service providers and we believe the system provided by ZTE Health and supported by GreenPeak Technologies will become a worldwide success.”

Student exchange

This September marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Dutch Studies Center jointly set up by Shanghai’s Fudan University and the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

Affiliated to the Center for European Studies of Fudan University, the Dutch Studies Center is devoted to research and education on Dutch economy, politics, culture and society.

“The center promotes in-depth knowledge of the Netherlands and mutual understanding between the two countries,” said Ding Chun, director of the center.

Every year, the center offers a graduate course on Dutch studies. Professors of the University of Groningen are invited to give lectures. Outstanding students in the class will be sent to the University of Groningen on a half-year exchange program. The Dutch university also sends students to Fudan for exchange.

With support from both schools, the center has organized seminars and symposiums on Dutch studies and Sino-Dutch relations and built a database for Dutch studies. The center also holds the Dutch Career Day from time to time to let Dutch companies like Philips and Rabobank to recruit graduates. Dutch Movie Night is another activity very popular among students.

The center has received many visitors in the past 10 years, including former Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, former Dutch ambassador to China Dirk Jan van den Berg, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen, and Groningen Governor Max van den Berg.


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