The five groups of pupils nominated for the Jan Kommandeur prize for their final school projects were invited to the Hannover Messe Challenge on 1 and 2 April. This event is organized annually by all VO-HO (secondary-higher education) networks in the Netherlands in connection with the Hannover Messe. It is the largest technology and innovation fair in the world!
Coaches packed with pupils drove from Groningen, via Assen, Meppel and Zwolle towards the University of Twente. This is where the first part of the two-day programme took place. After an interesting lecture by Prof. Matthias Wessling from Aachen University on membranes and membrane technology, there were several rounds of shorter lectures and workshops.
In these sessions, you could learn all about the workings of your brain, robotics, artificial intelligence, the workings of solar cells, virtual reality and more; all to do with technology and innovation. After dinner, there was time for sports activities, but there was also a performance by mentalist Timon Krause, whose mind tricks frequently astonished his audience. On day two, alarms went off early as the participants had to arrive on time at the Hannover Messe. On entering the first hall, filled with businesses from every corner of the globe, the scale of the fair immediately became clear. It was difficult to imagine that there were no fewer than 26 of these halls! Following a speech by the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate, Mona Keijzer, the hundreds of pupils could explore the fair on their own.
At the fair, you could find all sorts of things to do with robotics, automation, innovation, virtual and augmented reality and all kinds of applications for the future. For example, there were many VR glasses that you could test, you could play a robot at table tennis, take a test drive in hydrogen cars or take part in the many games and challenges that the businesses had prepared. Following two very inspiring days, we hope that all pupils have become even more fascinated by all the technology and innovations that they saw!
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