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From Startup Village to Women in AI: Meet the 13 key stakeholders in Dutch AI ecosystem

From the likes of Adyen to NXP Semiconductors, the Dutch ecosystem has produced not only companies that disrupt their industry but also ones that are global. With Artificial Intelligence already reshaping our world by turning available data into actionable intelligence, the Dutch ecosystem is also making a big impact here.

An AI ecosystem is one that includes concepts such as machine learning, deep learning and artificial narrow intelligence and the Dutch AI ecosystem includes companies that are truly bringing these technologies closer. Here is a look at the key stakeholders of the Dutch AI ecosystem.

NLAIC (Dutch AI Coalition)

The significant player in the Dutch AI ecosystem is NLAIC, also referred to as the Dutch AI Coalition. It is evident that AI will strongly determine our future prosperity and well-being and it will also have a massive impact on all business sectors. The NLAIC has been set up with the goal of building and maintaining a strong, distinctive position in the Netherlands for both the development and application of AI.

As a public-private partnership, it brings government, business, educational and research institutions and civil society organisations together to accelerate AI developments. The joint approach will allow Netherlands to be at the forefront of knowledge and NL AIC wants AI to be applied for the prosperity and well-being of humans while also respecting the Dutch and European norms. Within three years, the Dutch AI Coalitions aims to realise impactful AI innovations in at least ten economic and social sectors.

AI Hub Brightlands

The AI Hub Brightlands is part of Brightlands Smart Services Campus, an open innovation community in Limburg, The Netherlands, with 29,000 innovative entrepreneurs, researchers and students. While the goal of Brightlands is to create a community building breakthroughs in the field of sustainability, health and digitisation, the AI-hub Brightlands is an alliance of companies, knowledge institutions and other organisations.

The AI lab is a partner of the aforementioned NL AIC network and it plans to tackle social and business challenges with the help of artificial intelligence. The lab aims to accelerate useful AI developments for the benefit of Limburg society and the alliance is currently focusing on developments that have already started but will also develop smart, new applications of artificial intelligence. With the distinction of using technological innovation not as the goal but the means to achieve something bigger, the AI Hub Brightlands is unique.

AI Innovation Center

The AI Innovation Center is an incubator and accelerator for AI applications and projects that commenced operations in April 2021. It aims to bring together the regional AI ecosystem with focus on increasing the level of knowledge through events and education. The AI Innovation Center is an initiative of High Tech Campus Eindhoven and co-founded by Philips, Signify, NXP and ASML. Often companies fail due to a lack of ecosystem and infrastructure.  The AI Innovation Center wants to fix those gaps.

It offers a hub for talent to come together and share their knowledge and then enables that knowledge to thrive. By bringing together a network of service providers, venture capitalists, government partners, research institutions and launching customers, it is building a dedicated AI ecosystem and technical infrastructure. From knowledge sharing to enabling connections, the AI Innovation Center wants to accelerate adoption of AI technologies by high-tech companies in the region.

TU Delft AI Labs

The TU Delft AI Labs develops new scientific education and research, which makes most of the crossroads at which innovation and applications meet. The first sixteen TU Delft AI Labs are now a reality and are committed to research and innovation in AI, data and digitalisation. Eight more labs will follow and these labs will act as the bridge between research ‘in’ and ‘with’ AI, data and digitalisation.

The lab is designed to foster cross-fertilisation between talent and expertise and works to increase the impact of AI in the field of applied sciences, design techniques and society. In each TU Delft AI Labs, the academic faculty members and PhD students work together, which is made possible through the university-wide talent programme. While AI is key, the TU Delft AI Labs also helps accelerate “research in all relevant scientific disciplines and to increase educational capacity.”


JADS (Jheronimus Academy of Data Sciences) works on the principle of using data science to find answers to the challenges of our area. It is a unique cooperation between the Province of North Brabant, the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology. The vision and mission of JADS is to embed data science into society and continue scientific development. By being curious and sharing knowledge, JADS sees a way to accomplish this goal.

The organisation also offers data science bachelor and master programs, PDEng education, professional education that are designed to help organisations shape their data driven future. At JADS, the idea of AI-fueled organisations is brought to life by allowing researchers and students to work closely with the business community. It also offers space for innovative, data-driven entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships.

Startup Village

The Startup Village at Science Park, Amsterdam acts as the go-to place for Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing. It is essentially a community of startups and network partners that focus primarily on AI and Quantum. Since it is based in the heart of technology (Amsterdam Science Park), it brings a great mix in terms of science, talent and business. It is a place where these groups can connect, interact, collaborate and exchange knowledge.

The Startup Village opened in 2016 as an intersection between education, research and innovation. The idea of placing “some second handed sea containers” has not only become unique but serves as a unifying hub for tech startups at the Amsterdam Science Park. From ground-level construction, the Startup Village has evolved and currently houses over 35 companies.

AI Hub Midden Nederland

The AI Hub Midden Netherlands was set up by ROM Utrecht Region along with partners at the beginning of this year. The hub aims to strengthen the economic viability of the companies in the Utrecht Region using Artificial Intelligence. There are around 800 companies that are part of AI Hub Midden Netherlands and 170 of those companies are startups and the hub serves the regional function of building a community around AI.

The mission of AI Hub Midden Netherlands is to build a regional community in which knowledge about AI comes together. It also connects SMEs, educational institutions and governments to tackle AI issues. The hub also serves as the initiator for stimulating knowledge exchange and the use of research in the Utrecht Region. Lastly, it acts as the regional point of contact for the Dutch AI Coalition.

AI Hub Oost-Nederland

The AI Hub Oost-Nederland has the central mission of making AI work for all. It is designed for entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and governments in the region who either work with AI or want to work with AI. The hub connects and supports AI applications for a better, more sustainable and healthier life. There are more than 350 companies actively working on AI applications around important social issues in the eastern region of the Netherlands.

The AI Hub Oost-Nederland focuses on the application of AI in areas where the region is the strongest. It wants to promote AI applications that will have a positive impact on people and the environment and ones offering economic opportunities. The primary focus includes fields such as health, food, industry, energy and education. The hub is also working to apply AI to themes such as safety, biodiversity, logistics, transport and mobility.

AI Hub Brainport

The AI Hub Brainport is part of Dutch AI Coalition (NLAIC) that aims to make the Netherlands a key player in AI in the areas of healthcare, mobility and efficient manufacturing. It focuses on the importance of AI in the region around Eindhoven, Helmond, Den Bosch, Tilburg and Breda. The hub plans to develop and expand an AI ecosystem based on cooperation, in-depth knowledge of system integration and converting knowledge into commercially viable products.

The AI Hub Brainport wants to be an ecosystem that is attractive to international top talent in the field of AI, relevant companies and SMEs. AI is going to be integrated everywhere in our society and at AI Hub Brainport, pioneers, companies, government and knowledge institutions throughout Brabant work together on innovative and practical AI applications.


The ICAI or the National Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence is a national network aimed at technology and talent development. With the mission of keeping the Netherlands at the forefront of knowledge and talent development in AI, the ICAI creates and nurtures a national AI knowledge and talent ecosystem. In its quest, the ICAI wants to deal with sustainability with resources.

The Innovation Center for Artificial Intelligence attracts talent to work on problems, attracts problems and data for talent to work on and most importantly, it feeds local and national ecosystems for talent and knowledge development. The ICAI also contributes to economic growth while preserving the values and ethical aspects that the organisation stands for in the Netherlands. The Dutch AI ecosystem wants to become a strong European catalyst in the field of AI talent and knowledge development and ICAI plays a vital role.


While most organisations are working to build a bridge between knowledge and talent in the AI ecosystem, the ALLAI is working on a very unique challenge – fostering responsible AI. Artificial Intelligence will drive big societal changes but it also comes with its own unique problems. ALLAI, an initiative of Catelijne Muller, Virginia Dignum and Aimee van Wynsberghe, the three Dutch members of the EU High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, is dedicated to drive and foster responsible AI.

ALLAI works on determining the right conditions and boundaries for AI so that we can avoid the risks and address challenges arising from AI applications without losing out on its benefits. ALLAI has become the centre for balanced and informed debate about AI as it seeks to spread awareness about the true opportunities, capabilities, limitations, challenges and risks of Artificial Intelligence.

Women in AI

The Women in AI (WAI) was founded in 2016 with a small Facebook group but has now grown to become a powerful community with more than 8,000 members in 140 countries. The WAI is a nonprofit do-tank working towards inclusive AI that benefits global society. The technology sector has had its moment of reckoning with the underrepresentation of women and minorities and WAI wants to ensure such an issue doesn’t affect AI companies.

At Women in AI (WAI), the nonprofit is working to empower women and minorities to become AI and data experts, innovators and leaders. Like ALLAI, it encourages responsible use of artificial intelligence and use of ethical applications. From education, inspiration to connection, the WAI creates an environment “where women own the stage and present inspiring ideas.”

Kickstart AI

Kickstart AI came to life in 2019 as a collaboration between five Dutch companies – Ahold Delhaize, ING, KLM, NS and Philips. These companies aim to boost the AI ecosystem in the Netherlands by accelerating and promoting the development of AI technology. The Kickstart AI will also fuel AI education, talent and innovation in the Netherlands.

While most organisations are focusing on making the Netherlands capable of AI technologies in its own right, Kickstart AI wants to bridge the AI gap between the Netherlands and other leading economies like the UK, the US and China. It wants to ensure that the country remains a pioneer and inventor of technologies and the united force of these five companies will help accelerate the transformation and expansion of local knowledge and talent.

1080 675 Editorial Staff
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