Speech bullets Ger Nieuwpoort
Occasion: signing MoU NSO-JAXA
Dutch Embassy, Tokyo, Japan
12 April 2010
• dear honoured guests,
• It is a pleasure to me, to be here on this special occasion in this special place. Thank you Mr. De Heer for hosting this ceremony in the Dutch embassy
• I am honoured with the presence of our Minister of Economic Affairs Mrs. Maria van der Hoeven and I am honoured with the presence of such a high delegation from the site of JAXA
About the NSO
• Dear guests, for the Netherlands Space Office, the NSO, this is a very special occasion. The MoU with JAXA is the first agreement the NSO is signing with another space agency and I am very proud that this space agency is JAXA.
• Please do not misunderstand me: I am not saying that the Netherlands did not have any international cooperation in space until now. The contrary is true: from the beginning of space flight institutes and companies from the Netherlands have been very active in international space projects.
• But only recently the Dutch government centered all the responsibilities for space policy in one space agency of the government: the Netherlands Space Office. And in September last year the NSO was launched officially by our minister of economic affairs, Mrs Maria van der Hoeven.
• The NSO is international face of space activities of the Netherlands, the representative to ESA, NASA, JAXA and other space agencies. And this is why we are here now on this very moment.
• Dear guests,
• The NSO is not comparable to JAXA and the Dutch space programme is not comparable to the space programme of Japan. Japan is one of the few countries to develop its own launchers and satellites, and launch them. From the Dutch perspective we can only have deep respect for the achievements and the history in space of Japan and the very high level of technological developments. And I am convinced that under the leadership of President Dr Keiji Tachikawa JAXA will play an even more important role in the international space scene in the near future.
About the cooperation
• Nevertheless, The Netherlands also has to offer something to Japan.
• In addition to Space Research, the Netherlands play a major role in the application of satellite data in many fields, from energy- and food supply to health and environment. In addition, Dutch companies and institutes are working heavily on miniaturisation of space technology, undoubtedly one of the main developments in the future of space.
• Both JAXA and the NSO have the same goal: utilizing space for science, earth observation and development of practical applications for daily life.
• I am sure that the signing of this MoU is a starting point for the exploration of more areas of fruitful cooperation.
Vision on space
• Progress in space is something of ‘small steps’ and ‘giant leaps’
• Technological developments and scientific research go step by step
• But the breakthroughs and the wealth of applications they bring mean giant leaps for mankind and society
• The future is brimming with promise, and space will play not only a larger but a different role.
• Space has really taken flight over the past decennia. I think that in the future, spaceflight will be felt much closer to home.
• The government has always been space's largest client, but that is now changing, not only in the Netherlands, but world-wide.
• We continue to see more companies developing services based on space data and offering those successfully to the market.
• Farmers are now able to monitor their fields via satellite, ships choose their routes based on satellite information about currents, to barely hint at the possibilities that satellite navigation brings.
• The future holds fantastic ambitions and considerable challenges that can only be realised by means of fruitful international cooperation.
• This not only concerns fascinating missions to other heavenly bodies but also very down-to-earth applications of space technology that can generate high-value economic activities.
• The Netherlands wants to continue to play a role in such ventures and can only do this in cooperation with its foreign partners.
• This is why I consider the signing of this MoU with JAXA as a giant leap for the Dutch space activities in particular and I am looking forward tot the results of the cooperation in space and on Earth.
• To express my gratitude to JAXA I would like to offer something to Dr. Keiji Tashikawa.
• As you all know the visit of the Dutch delegation to Japan is within the framework of the celebrations of 400 years of the relationship between Japan and the Netherlands.
• Most of you will know that last year astronomers and space researchers celebrated the fact that 400 years ago the telescope was invented by the Italian astronomer Galileo.
• But few of you might know that the reality is that the telescope was invented in the Netherlands by two manufacturers of spectacles one year before Galileo pointed the instrument to the stars.
• Typical Dutch of this story might be that the Dutch did not apply the instrument for science, but as a navigation instrument in shipping. Contrary to the astronomical telescope the Dutch telescope did not rotate the image. Maybe a few years later the coast line of Japan was visible for the first time through a Dutch telescope.
• I would like to offer this replica of one of the first telescopes to Dr. Tashikawa, as a symbol of the goal both JAXA and NSO are aiming for: development of technology for science and society.
• Thank you very much