On Monday, October 11, during a festive gathering, the start signal was given for the construction of the ‘Kopgebouw’ at the Leerpark in Dordrecht. This moment was marked with an open-air lecture at the construction site on collective innovation in the Drechtsteden. This allowed those present to get a taste of what would soon take place in the Kopgebouw. The Kopgebouw will not only accommodate young companies in the Smart Industry, but Dordrecht Academy and Career Boost will also move into the building. These two initiatives will expand and strengthen higher education in the Drechtsteden. The Kopgebouw will also have a connection with the Duurzaamheidsfabriek, which is literally a bridge to connect the vocational college and the university of applied sciences.

After the lecture, the first pole was driven in the traditional manner by Education Alderman Peter Heijkoop of the Municipality of Dordrecht, Jan Lokker (Director ROC Da Vinci College), Erwin van Braam (Program Director Higher Education Drechtsteden) and Johan van Gerven, Associate Director Acquisition & Development of Kadans Science Partner.

‘That we can give the higher education, business and an innovation climate for the region a physical location is a fantastic boost for the region,’ says Peter Heijkoop. ‘Dordrecht municipality has invested heavily in the campus development at the Leerpark. With a solid vision, we have worked for a long time to make higher education a foundation in the region, but also to find the right physical location for it with the Kopgebouw. We have learned from the road to this that innovation is something you do together. And those collaborations must be able to land in the right place, in the right building. Especially if the construction of the Maakfabriek starts soon, we will have one of the most beautiful campuses in the Netherlands in Dordrecht. This is a very special milestone for the Drechtsteden.

But in order to bring about innovations, more is needed than an attractive and high-quality building. A building alone is not enough. Both the inside and outside of the building must breathe innovation. And that also means bringing together all the right parties within such a building. Creating a community and ecosystem between young companies in cross-pollination with entrepreneurs and as a complement to, among others, the Sustainability Factory. The fact that this building will provide space for higher education is a big step. The right companies and stakeholders from the region are linked to this. Together they make the building,’ explains Johan van Gerven of developer Kadans Science Partner.

The heart of the new higher education we are establishing in the region has to be here at the Leerpark’, adds Erwin van Braam, program director of Higher Education Drechtsteden ‘Innovation questions from companies and institutions in our region are the basis of our education. Here we are physically connected to companies and vocational education. The Kopgebouw will soon be our center, but also our base for cooperation at other locations in the region. ‘

The Kopgebouw is part of the Campus development in Dordrecht. The arrival of the Kopgebouw as a home base for new companies and higher education is an important next step in the development of the campus,’ says Jan Lokker, director of ROC Da Vinci College. The Leerpark is gaining significance as a regional hotspot where working, learning and innovating come together in an organic way. People and ideas can grow and develop here. We can be genuinely proud of that.

The construction of the head office building will take about 14 months. The building is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023.