Cooperating to improve the competitive clout of the Dutch aerospace sector

We operate in a constantly changing political and economic environment. This was confirmed once more in 2014, a turbulent year full of opportunities and challenges for the Dutch aerospace sector in general and NLR in particular.

We signed agreements with Fokker and Airborne at the JEC Trade Fair, in the presence of Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs. We provided the Ministry of Defence with various solutions for personnel and equipment operating beyond our borders in Mali and elsewhere, ensuring better support and safety. We provided the Ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment with building blocks for aerospace policy in which the air transport industry is offered greater scope, but must also meet various safety, efficiency and sustainability standards.

The steady withdrawal of government support and concomitant erosion of budgets for knowledge and facility development are cause for concern, as this affects knowledge development in the medium and long term. This is one reason why we have broadened our geographical scope. We joined hands with government and industry to explore opportunities in Europe and connected with major European framework programmes such as SESAR, Future Sky and Clean Sky, which prompted research into innovative and sustainable aviation technology and operations. Last year, we also completed the very first landing guided by European satellites, which will further improve the precision and safety of aircraft landings and will help reduce the noise impact of flight operations. We spread our wings and landed in Brazil, where NLR and German-Dutch Wind Tunnels DNW signed contracts with aircraft manufacturer EMBRAER, supported by outstanding diplomatic lobbying from the Netherlands government. And the successful Dutch trade missions to China will this year be crowned with the signing of a government-to-government agreement between China and the Netherlands.

We flew out together, but always returned to Dutch soil, because that is where NLR has its roots and where we can best feed our ambition, which is to boost the innovative power and competitive clout of Dutch government, industry and smaller businesses.

NLR and Dutch business have a symbiotic relationship. This is exemplified by CompoWorld, a cooperative venture between government bodies, business, educational institutions and NLR. Together we carried out numerous projects last year, contributing to high-grade job opportunities in various parts of the country. We opened the first Automated Composite Manufacturing-ACM Pilot Plant at our Marknesse-Flevoland establishment, which is a highly concrete addition to the national Smart Industries policy. At this facility, NLR is teaming up with launch customer Fokker Landing Gear to research new automated manufacturing processes for composites.

In West Brabant Province, operators in the aerospace maintenance sector were invited to join a new innovation and business development programme. Zooming in further on the Netherlands, we see Amsterdam, home to NLR’s head office, which is gradually consolidating its status as an Aerospace Capital, with a special focus on space exploration. This is borne out by the fact that we will shortly be welcoming the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research to Amsterdam, giving a boost to our aerospace activities, particularly in downstream developments and satellite systems.

The success of a knowledge organisation depends on staff with in-depth knowledge, who are willing to look beyond borders. Such people abound at NLR. Our experts have a can-do mentality, good communications skills and offer cutting-edge expertise. Moreover, when the first phase of renovation is completed at our Amsterdam establishment, they will have access to facilities that fully meet the demands of our age.

The knowledge and skill of our staff, in combination with our state-of-the-art facilities, will ensure that we remain in the vanguard of developments, enabling us to boost the competitive clout of Dutch industry and smaller businesses operating in the aerospace sector. Our biannual customer satisfaction survey has repeatedly confirmed that this unique combination of qualities is highly appreciated by our clients. This appreciation translated into new contracts, ensuring that we ended the past fiscal year with a positive result once more. In view the prevailing economic climate, I consider this an impressive accomplishment.

Managing Director NLR
Michel Peters

Board of Directors

Michel Peters (Managing Director)
Leo Esselman (Financial Director)
Eddy Pijpers (Division Manager Aerospace Systems)
Marja Eijkman (Division Manager Air Transport)
Collin Beers (Division Manager Aerospace Vehicles)
Johanneke ter Hennepe (Chief Marketing Officer)