Chinese prime minister meets ARC CBBC scientists in the Netherlands

On October 15th and 16th the Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang and his delegation were hosted by Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands in The Hague to discuss the cooperation between the two countries. Among those attending this meeting were Prof. Ben Feringa and Prof. Bert Weckhuysen. The presence of both board members of the Advanced Research Center for sustainable chemistry and energy ARC CBBC illustrates both countries’ intention to cooperate on innovation in the field of sustainable chemistry and energy.

Dutch chemists in China

Prof. Ben Feringa (Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2016) is already running a joint lab at the East China University of Science and Technology for research on organic chemistry and homogeneous catalysis. In 2018, Prof. Bert Weckhuysen brought ARC CBBC to China as part of a mission to identify scientific institutes ARC CBBC could collaborate with. Both scientists will be part of the Dutch delegation to China in January 2019, visiting Chinese research institutes and the Ministry of Science and Technology.


The Advanced Research Center Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC) is a public-private research center in the Netherlands. Within ARC CBBC, there is intensive cooperation between the academics, government and the chemical industry to find solutions for worldwide challenges on energy and chemical feedstock.

Photo: ANP

Shanghai bootcamp for Dutch Startups recap

At the Holland Innovation Network part of our work is to explore opportunities for Dutch innovation and tech driven companies abroad. As mentioned in a previous article from our officer Bart van Hezewijk, there are many opportunities for foreign startups and scale-ups in China. To help Dutch startups enter China we organized the first Shanghai bootcamp […]

Launch of Chang’E-4 With Netherlands China Low-frequency Explorer to the Dark Side of the Moon

China’s Lunar exploring mission has finally started after two years of preparation. Chang’e-4 has been successfully launched from Xichang Center on May 21st 2018. On board is the Dutch designed and Dutch build Netherlands China Low-frequency Explorer on its way to the earth-moon L2 point. At the moon’s dark side, NCLE will explore the radio sky at very long wavelengths (i.e. at low frequencies below ~30 MHz). This includes the study of radio emission from the Earth, the Sun, the large planets in the solar system and the Milky Way.

Previous article with background information about the mission: Dutch Payload Ready to Join China’s Lunar Exploration Mission to the Dark Side of the Moon

Photo report of the launch:

 Xichang Satellite Launch Center

Chang’e-4 during the final preparation

CCTV interviewing Dr. Marc Klein Wolt

Xichang Center in the night sky before the launch 


Video of the launch: 

Shanghai bootcamp for Dutch startups; CES Asia and Global AI+ New Business Summit

CES Asia and Global AI+ New Business Summit will be held from June 13-15 in Shanghai. The Consulate-General of the Netherlands in Shanghai organises a bootcamp for startups that are interested to attend or exhibit at either CES Asia or the AI summit in Shanghai. A 5-day program is designed surrounding these two events for startups with high interest and ambitions in China.

Program details

The bootcamp itself will be free of charge; you will need to pay for flights and accommodation yourself. If you want to be an exhibitor at CES Asia Startup Park, this will cost around €1000.

Draft program:


If you are interested to explore opportunities in Shanghai and China, please answer the following questions and send your answers to Bart van Hezewijk, Officer for Innovation, Technology and Science of the Holland Innovation Network at the Consulate-General of the Netherlands in Shanghai:

  • Do you want to join the Shanghai bootcamp?
  • Do you want to attend CES Asia as a visitor or as an exhibitor? A 3x3m booth at CES Asia Startup Park will cost around €1000; exhibitors will get the opportunity to pitch on CES Asia Startup Park stage and speak at the press conference organised by Holland Innovation Network China.
  • Do you want to attend the AI Summit? Exact program of the AI Summit is still to be determined; we do our best to arrange good exposure for Dutch participants.
  • Please explain your interest and ambitions in China:
    • Who would you like to meet in China: customers, investors, R&D partners, manufacturers, distributors, incubators/accelerators, co-working spaces, corporates, talent, government (if you have any specific names please let us know)?
    • Are you active in China already, do you have Chinese-speaking team members?

The final application deadline is Wednesday May 16, 2018. Based on number of applicants and information provided the most relevant startups will be selected.


Dutch Payload Ready to Join China’s Lunar Exploration Mission to the Dark Side of the Moon

A Dutch designed and Dutch made radio astronomy payload named “Netherlands China Low-frequency Explorer” (NCLE) is ready to board on China’s latest Lunar exploration mission, Chang’e-4, and starts its journey to the back side of the Moon upcoming May. At the moon’s dark side, NCLE will explore the radio sky at very long wavelengths (i.e. at low frequencies below ~30 MHz). This includes the study of radio emission from the Earth, the Sun, the large planets in the solar system and the Milky Way.

NCLE is a cooperation project agreed to by the governments of China and the Netherlands in 2016.  The instrument was built in just a bit more than two years with joint efforts of Dutch scientists and engineers. Dr. Marc Klein Wolt, Managing Director of Radboud Radio Lab and Assistant Professor, Department of Astrophysics Research Institute for Mathematics, Astrophysics and Particle Physics, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands is Dutch PI of this project. He is expecting new astrophysical observational techniques and radio telescopes in this wavelength range in space, addressing topics such as long baseline interferometry, the investigation of faint signals from the early cosmos, and the detection of transient radio signals.


The dark side of the moon is superb for astronomical observation since noisy radio signals from the earth are blocked. But a journey there is not easy. Up to now, tougher terrain at the back side and technical difficulty in direct communication with the earth has stopped any country from landing there. The only picture of moon’s backside is taken by a Russian mission in 1959. Decades later in 2018, China is ready to face the challenge. If everything goes as planned, in a month time, China will make a soft landing at the back side of moon for the first time in human history.

Named after ancient fairytale character Chang’e, China’s moon mission signals its growing strength in space exploration.  Ultimate goal of the Chang’e mission is human landing on the moon by around 2030. So far China has succeeded in its first three endeavors, including two moon orbiters in 2007 and 2010 and a rover in 2013. Chang’e-4 is the fourth of the series and technically a complicated and difficult one.

On the occasion of the 3rd National Space Day, a day picked by President Xi Jinping for China to celebrate its accomplishments in space adventures, CNSA, the Chinese space authority, unveiled details of  Chang’e-4 mission. The mission includes two satellites. A relay satellite, named Que Qiao (in Chinese: 鹊桥, another fairy tale character), will head for the second Earth-Moon Lagrangian point, or EML-2, about 37,000 miles above the far side of the Moon first, fulfilling the task of  establishment of an earth-moon communication link. Once the link is built, a second satellite will be launched six-months later to deploy a rover and lander, on the South Pole-Aitken basin, the single largest dent on the Moon’s surface.

Besides Que Qiao’s primary task to keep Chang’e 4 rover and lander connected with their ground station, the communication satellite also carries two micro-satellites for long-wave length observation. The two micro-satellite were named Longjiang 1 and Longjiang 2, both developed by Harbin Institute of Technology, China’s first and strongest space education and research institute. In addition, China opened the Chang’e 4 mission to international cooperation. Together with NCLE, instruments developed by Germany, Sweden and Saudi Arabia are also accepted on the Chang’e 4 Mission to do space science.

Illustration of the CHANG’E 4 Mission


Talking about space science, Chinese scientist, Mr.Wang Chi of the National Space Science Centre, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) admits that China has a long way to go to catch up with other advanced space nations. Up to 2017, America has launched more than 400 satellites for science purposes. ESA launched around 50 while China made 9 launches only, including 2 for the Double Star mission in close cooperation with ESA.

Realizing the gap with advanced space powers, space science started to become more and more important in the planning of the Chinese space programme. Through the “Strategic Priority Program on Space Science” led by CAS, aseries of space science missions are planned and implemented. On its own and through international cooperation, China is determined to contribute to “human understanding of the universe and planet earth, seeking new discoveries and new breakthroughs in space science”[1]

Through the Strategic Priority Programme, China is able to join the international community in the study of black holes and neutron stars and in search of dark matter particles. It also enabled microgravity research and examination of Sun-Earth space weather system.  Paired with ESA’s Cluster programme, China has completed the Double Star Programme focusing on solar wind.

In August 2016, China launched the world’s first quantum-communications satellite to   demonstrate principles underlying quantum communication.  The mission has demonstrated particles remain “entangled” at a record-breaking distance of more than 1,200 kilometres, which could be used as the basis of a future secure quantum-communications network.

China’s space station – Tiangong – to be completed by 2022, is designed mainly for space sciences. With two science modules joined together by a connecting service module, Tiangong is said to have similar capacity to perform space science as the International Space Station. China has announced that Tiangong will be developed into “Space Lab” open to experiments and astronauts from all UN member states, specifically to developing countries.

Looking into the future, space science in China will be strengthened significantly by a number of new satellites under the Strategic Priority Programme of CAS to be launched around 2020. This would include a cooperative mission with Europe called “SMILE” to study the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth magnetosphere. An “Einstein-Probe” puts focus on searching for X-rays emitting celestial bodies and high-energy radiation from black holes. The Programme also foresees a project to search for electromagnetic signals associated with gravitational waves and an earth observation mission focusing on water cycle observation.

The Chinese space missions often offers the international community unique opportunities to carry out joint scientific exploration. The Netherlands has secured one of such chances. As China strengthen its science ability, it would become a strategic and competitive partner for the advanced space nations.