New spaces for our experts and for coming together
Opening new offices during a pandemic may not seem like the most obvious thing to do. In 2021, Witteveen+Bos opened no fewer than three new locations. In April, following repeated postponements due to corona, our office in Panama was opened. In November and December, the Utrecht office moved to a larger building and a pop-up office was opened in Groningen. Initially, of course, little use could be made of the additional possibilities these premises offer. We are pleased with the new locations, as they fit in with our long-term goals. The offices are situated closer to our clients, (future) talented colleagues, and other partners, which helps us fulfil our aim of sustainable collaboration.
Our expansion to Panama is in line with the increasing number of projects being worked on in Latin America. The new premises will function as a ‘front office’. Panama was chosen due to its central location in the region. The office strengthens our local position in delta and water technology and creates opportunities for projects on resilient cities. The intention is to collaborate frequently with local partners.
‘We’ve already completed many projects in the region and see great potential for growth in various markets,’ explains Paul Ravenstijn, managing director of the Panama office. ‘We spent years working on the Itaipu Dam shipping bypass, for example, and we’re currently working on a maritime port terminal in Uruguay and, in Trinidad and Tobago, on a master plan and design for measures relating to urban water management. The front office in Panama has a three-part objective. First of all, we want to further strengthen our regional network of reliable clients and partners. This is most effective when you have a presence in the region. Secondly, we see opportunities in the region to make a significant contribution to the SDGs. And finally, our compact front offices around the world contribute to the development of international entrepreneurial talent: it allows our people to ‘go on exchange’.
On 23 November 2021, Witteveen+Bos and the Groningen Energy Transition Centre (EnTranCe) signed a strategic collaboration agreement. Part of the agreement involved the opening of a pop-up Witteveen+Bos office on the Zernike Campus in Groningen, which took place at the start of 2022. The energy transition forms the collaboration’s central theme.
Witteveen+Bos experiments with pop-up offices close to colleges, universities, innovative environments and specialist markets that are important to us. In principle, these offices are temporary. They are places where Witteveen+Bos employees, students, clients and partners can meet, innovate and learn from each other in an accessible way. The office in Groningen is our second pop-up, with the previous location in Wageningen ultimately becoming a permanent office. With this agreement, Witteveen+Bos aims to strengthen its innovation and talent chains in the energy transition. Many more experts will be needed in the coming years if the transition is to be realised, which is why we want our current and future talents to work together on knowledge development. At EnTranCe, we will be doing this in various innovation lines. In these lines, together with students, partners and clients, we will develop new solutions for energy transition issues such as hydrogen, energy participation, energy systems and off-shore wind, heating laws, and grid strategy. ‘For the next phase of the energy transition, we want to bring professionals and talents together in a structural way,’ explains Jimme Zoete, ambassador for the pop-up office in Groningen. ‘By innovating and developing knowledge together, we can contribute to making this transition achievable.’
On 20 December 2021, our new Utrecht office at Daalsesingel 51c was opened. Due to the lockdown rules in place at the time, the opening was modest. Unlike our previous location in Utrecht, in one of Hoog Catharijne’s office buildings, we intend to use the office on Daalsesingel for at least ten years. After the first Utrecht office’s opening in mid-2019, the location proved so popular that the available space was soon no longer be able to meet demand. Many colleagues and clients made use of the office – Utrecht is, of course, centrally located and is ideal for meetings involving people from different parts of the country.
Facilitating meetings, therefore, was the starting point for the new office’s layout. Head of office Wim van den Berg: ‘Witteveen+Bos wants to collaborate with knowledge partners like Utrecht University and HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, and with clients like RIVM, Rijkswaterstaat, contractors, municipalities, water authorities, and the provincial government. In both the city and the province, a lot of attention is being paid to climate adaptation, circular construction, participation, water safety and availability, the energy transition, and healthy urban living. These are interesting issues for the future, which we, as a consultancy and engineering firm, want to be working on. Our centrally located office, with lots of space and every convenience, is optimally equipped for the internal and external collaborations we enter into for this purpose.’