Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe and the 5th largest worldwide. It, therefore, plays an important economic role not just in Europe but on an international scale, is the economic hub of Belgium, and this is without even mentioning its status as the global diamond trade hub. In many ways, the economically secure yet creative Antwerp is the perfect breeding ground for smart city development. Antwerp has focused intensely on making the city smarter in the last few years, devising technological solutions to societal challenges such as safety, unemployment, sustainability, and mobility, a various e-booking services as e-counter or e-booking property databases.
Antwerp can be classified in the category of smart cities where fiber-optic backbones were installed in the city and enabled the interconnection of households and local enterprises to ultra-high-speed networks. The last mile connection to the backbone was established with fiber optic channels Fiber-to-the-Home, composing a flourishing environment for telecommunication vendors and private investments in general. Antwerp and Amsterdam collaborated and interconnected their broadband networks. Importantly, the city understands the importance of trying and testing projects and assessing their actual impact on citizens’ lives, demonstrating environmental information before fully investing in them; information about this is well presented in the development of guides for entrepreneurs. This is the reasoning behind their recent ‘City of Things’ project, involving a living lab being implemented in the city center to test smart solutions in a real-life urban environment. The city is also heavily branding itself as a smart city of the future.
Key Activities: e-Government services (e-Counter), Online Tourist Guide, e-Booking Property Database, environmental information, and guides for entrepreneurs
Blue Gate Antwerp
“Blue Gate Antwerp is being developed into a water-linked eco-effective industrial park. With this site, the City of Antwerp and the Flemish Region want to attract innovative businesses – both domestic and international – marking a new milestone for Antwerp in its innovative history”.
“Sound, professional park management will help companies achieve the ambitions of Blue Gate Antwerp and focus on their core business. A robust infrastructure with a smart grid for energy delivery and fibreoptic cable for ICT applications will also be available”.
Stakeholders and Governance
The development of Blue Gate Antwerp is led by the public administrations of Antwerp and Flanders in a participative public-private partnership with the private sector.
Blue Gate Antwerp offers the following specific economic advantages:
Its location on the river Scheldt and its proximity to the city make the site an ideal and unique base for city-regional distribution – the bundled delivery of goods to the city.
The nearness of the city, with its high knowledge and innovation capacity, will allow Blue Gate Antwerp to evolve into a cutting-edge industrial park that forms an ‘eco cluster’ around production, research, and development. Blue Gate Antwerp will help the companies on site with the recycling and/or removal of waste, the optimization of material cycles, the use as far as possible of renewable energy sources, and the application of open innovation to encourage the development of the site as an incubator/accelerator for new ideas and solutions”.
Smart City characteristics are typically covered: Smart Environment, Smart Mobility, Smart Economy, and Smart Living