The Dutch traditions of pioneering and astronomy are the foundation for our success in space research. The Netherlands has a long history in astronomy that began with Hans Lippershey, who invented and patented the telescope more than 400 years ago in Middelburg, a town close to the sea in Zeeland, the south-western province of the Netherlands. The Netherlands has continued to play a strong role in astronomy ever since, providing essential technology to huge telescopes like the VLTI and the European – Extremely Large Telescope.
Most recently, Dutch telescope expertise was used onboard Herschel, the largest space telescope in orbit today. The Netherlands has also been a leader in technologies like water management, giving it a fruitful perspective on the use of satellite data for improving life on Earth. The Dutch have reapplied ground-based knowledge of the Earth and the sky to the evolving space sector with instrument developments for Earth observation and astronomy starting in the 1960’s. Internationally recognised science in the fields of optics, solar power and miniaturisation is both crucial to and stimulated by space ventures.