Living Tomorrow stops

The Living Tomorrow Innovation Pavilion in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost will close its doors in April 2008. The first period of almost five years will not be continued for this 'house of the future'. Dutch sponsors are uncertain about the economy, says the Belgian founder as a reason. The websites behind Livtom

The Living Tomorrow Innovation Pavilion in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost will close its doors in April 2008. The first period of almost five years will not be continued for this 'house of the future'. Dutch sponsors are uncertain about the economy, says the Belgian founder as a reason.

The websites behind Livtom.nl and Livingtomorrow.nl lay flat in the past few days. A better symbol for the coming end of the five-year exhibition can not be imagined.

The Living Tomorrow Amsterdam project started in 2003. It was an initiative of Peter Bongers and Frank Beliën who had already been successful for eight years with their Living Tomorrow Belgium 'house of the future' in Vilvoorde near Brussels.

Just like the Belgian equivalent, Living Tomorrow Amsterdam was set up as an exhibition for a period of five years: from 2003 to 2008. For the same period, a sequel should be given, as in Belgium versions two and three.

The intention was to make people and companies think through experience about technical developments and new products in their daily lives and daily work.

In the futuristic building of Ben van Berkel from Un Studio in Amsterdam, remarkable living and working environments are presented. Unlike the earlier houses of the future, it was not science fiction, but technology that is already available for about 80 percent or available on the market in the short term.

20 million

For the range of Living Tomorrow sponsors, it is on the one hand a sign for public relations to the press, public and government and on the other hand to gather input for research and development of new products.

During the week, companies occupied Living Tomorrow with meetings for participants and their guests, and on weekends the public was allowed to enter.

HP, LogicaCMG and Unilever were the main pillars. Major sponsors were also 3M, Atag, Dommelsch, Rochdale and Philips. They placed 'intelligent' refrigerators, washing machines, mirrors, furniture, lighting, care products, shopping modules, home workstations, interactive television, ticketing and, of course, e-commerce with a refrigerated delivery box next to the letterbox.

According to Peter Bongers, around 20 million euros has been put in to run it for five years. He and Beliën did this with their BV Bilibo. "We hope to close with a break, " says Bongers. There are no debts. Rumors that the building is being demolished he contradicts: "It gets a different destination." He will sell it, no new destination has yet been found. "The sales price has not yet been determined, what happens to the interior?" The future demonstration will be taken out after 10 June, until then there will be events going on. "

Short-term vision

Bongers and Beliën still wanted to create a Living Tomorrow Amsterdam 2, but it was not feasible at the moment: "We got the broad support that was still there for the business community in 2003. The companies want to Do not invest the current economic situation for a period of five years, then you have to make a decision. "

It is striking that in the Netherlands companies do not want to enter this form of innovation for a longer period of time, Bongers thinks: "The Dutch innovation climate was better five years ago, we have received very broad and excellent support." But the economic crisis with uncertainty about the consequences of the banking crisis may lead to a possible recession according to the companies. "

Bongers finds a difference with the attitude of companies in Belgium where Delhaize, Brussels Airlines, Suez, Microsoft and Volvo carry the 'tent': "They are less guided by fear of the short term." In Belgium, the investment climate is calmer and there is more confidence in progress, even if there are cyclical setbacks, you have to have a long-term vision to go along with a concept like Living Tomorrow. "

Fortune and Wilders

Bongers thinks this is a remarkable difference in the perception of the directors and directors in Belgium and in the Netherlands: "A relatively small decline in the Netherlands is a cause of immediate fear in the Netherlands: Belgian companies do not quickly believe they are going down in a rush."

A difference also in national mentality and politics, where the slightest ripple immediately leads to high waves, and later replaced by new excitement for nothing? "We do not have figures like Wilders or Fortuin in Belgium that manage the entire political debate in a short time, but on the other hand it takes nine months to create a cabinet. between the two nations, "Bongers said.

The half-Dutch, half-Belgian entrepreneur is far from being a negative: "Amsterdam has also been a success for Living Tomorrow, the power of innovation has certainly been strengthened in the Netherlands, and a lot of goodwill has been bred by companies, the public and the press. that so many have committed themselves in the last five years to let us achieve this. "

You wanted to expand to more countries and to other continents. Did you succeed? "Internationally, the same applies as to Amsterdam, and at the moment the credit crisis is weighing on business confidence, so it is not a good climate right now."

And about the website that lies flat: "We are now adjusting the website at the end of the expo period." Later today more about the motivations of the sponsors to stop Living Tomorrow.