Ministers Dijkgraaf and Brouns visit Maastricht: joining forces for Einstein Telescope

23 January 2024

The visit of Flemish Minister Jo Brouns and his Dutch counterpart Robbert Dijkgraaf to the ET Pathfinder in Maastricht may have been brief, but its significance was one of stature. A few days earlier, Minister Brouns announced that the Flemish government was allocating 21 million euros for technology development for the Einstein Telescope.

Minister Dijkgraaf, Stefan Hild and minister Brouns at the ET Pathfinder.

News that, according to Dutch Minister Dijkgraaf, once again underlined how much attention and support the Einstein Telescope is receiving abroad as well: “It is wonderful news that the Flemish colleagues too are now allocating money for technology and knowledge development for the Einstein Telescope. I would very much like to bring this telescope to the border area between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The value of such a world-class instrument for science and our economies can hardly be expressed in money. By investing now in the knowledge and technology we need, our plan becomes stronger, and we increase the chances of building the telescope here. We are also driving innovation. That is good for the economy, employment and knowledge position.”

The ministers were briefed by Stan Bentvelsen, director of the Einstein Telescope – EMR project office, by Prof. Stefan Hild, project leader of the ET Pathfinder and by students Elise Van den Bossche (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Luise Kranzhoff (Maastricht University). Nikhef is one of the partners in the Einstein Telescope -EMR project.

Robbert Dijkgraaf praised the collaboration across borders: “We work like this across borders: of our countries and of our knowledge. I think this collaboration really is a textbook example of how to shape a European project. With the Einstein Telescope we are developing groundbreaking technology, far beyond what is currently possible. This is of great value to science and also a huge boost to the competitiveness of our industry. Studies show that we can recoup every euro we invest three to four times over. The Einstein Telescope is also expected to create several thousand new direct and indirect jobs in the frontier region. For workers of all educational levels. Not only for top scientists, but also for the skilled workers who take care of construction and maintenance, or who work in the regional hospitality industry.”