Category Archives: H20 in the news

From the weekly newspaper Nieuw-Volendam: Dirk Tuip responds to new generation, dreams and thinks big

Esports, gaming, racing seats, virtual reality - in countries like the United States, China and South Korea, it is the 'now'; here, it is the future. Volendam resident Dirk Tuip, who worked with Johan Cruijff at the Johan Cruyff Institute when the master was still alive, is taking advantage of it. He responds to the development of the new world and got companions and the municipality of Purmerend on board. Last week, Tuip and another former top handball player of Kras/Volendam, Matthijs Vink, unveiled their plans under the name H20 in sports hall De Koogmolen. In six months' time, this location will have undergone a metamorphosis and the Netherlands will be able to experience the largest eSports Stadium in Europe.

Realising the largest esports centre / arena in Europe

The leases have been signed, the building permit submitted and the demolition permit obtained for the building next door where hundreds of students study. Tuip: The plans are three years old, but the idea has been around for six years. What started life as an IT & Tech campus."

Dirk Tuip at Gamescom

SearchUser and FacilityApps

Our online marketing agency SearchUser has been around for ten years, and the software company Facility Apps was created later. We have two groups of employees: marketers and programmers and that makes for a very special combination. Especially when you mix them. One of our employees was doing during his break what programmers so often do: they eat a sandwich and watch a game, live or a summary. I find that very special, because my partner Matthijs and I were active top sportsmen. I also saw a counter with figures that were in the seven million range and that kept increasing. I asked what that meant: it turned out to be the people who were watching live worldwide. That got me thinking."

ESL One and Gamescom at the Koln Arena in Cologne

Afterwards, I went to the biggest games fair in the world, in Cologne, Germany. Then you think: which boat have I missed here? Or rather: which cruise ship did I miss? Then I visited the ESLOne, one of the biggest esports competitions in the world, and went to the biggest esports stadium in the world, in America. Then all the pieces of the puzzle fell together. All our programmers play games and it would be great if we could develop them into eSporters. Actually, that's what literally happens in sports."

One third of the population is gaming and so many people play sports. In the end, everyone is trying to improve themselves through training, coaching and competitions and perhaps reach that stage that is only open to a few."

I go to the biggest games fair in the world and then you think: which boat have I missed here? Or rather: which cruise ship?

Creative tech, ICT and digital marketing

,,What we also started working on was creative tech. The basis of our office had to be the ultimate working environment. Our accountant often says: 'everything is possible here'. We have a pool table, racing seats, a football table, a dartboard, we organise two boot camps a week. The new generation wants more, they want freedom and they want to be able to decide for themselves what they like to do. So you have to touch them. Our goal is to build an esports stadium here and train eSporters. In Europe we are really behind, but we can - like Ajax has succeeded - try to catch up from here. But this is also where the jobs of the future may lie. Because every industry is going to feel the impact of tech."

Collaborations were sought with people in Amsterdam who supervise eSports and gaming. And the municipality of Purmerend got sucked into it. Alderman Mario Hegger: ,,We can realise a dream here. It is not my world, but I was drawn into it and became enthusiastic. Because this offers opportunities. I even think that this building will soon be too small.          

,,At first, the city council could not feel what we wanted to invest in, with the aim of renovation and initially somewhat lower rental costs; until Dirk came and gave a presentation. Then they got the picture and also saw the opportunities. If we don't take them, we will thwart a development that we will regret later."

Matthijs Vink

Matthijs Vink is bubbling over: ,,After I played handball in Spain for ten years, Kras/Volendam brought me back to the Netherlands. And chairman Piet Kes and former player Dirk Tuip gave me the opportunity to combine sport with a social career. I hope that we can also inspire young people here and at our office and offer them opportunities they would otherwise never get. This plan is so well put together. We don't need to go to America to see how cool it is there. We can do it here."

It is a new world. A lot of people think something of gaming. But if you look at these people, they follow their passion and want to achieve everything with it. These boys and girls, who have a lot of followers on YouTube and Instagram, can influence the new generation by doing something good. And that's not just endless gaming in the attic, but coming here and developing themselves in whatever field they can."   

Koen Schobbers

Koen Schrobbers was the first professional eSporter of the Netherlands: ,,We are exactly in the week that game addiction has become an official disease. You can look at the disadvantages, because there definitely are. But the advantages are the skills that young people can develop here, which will prepare them for the jobs of the future. There is no training yet, there is no place. We can make that happen here. We can build a community here. Where companies, who would like to bring IT in-house, can establish themselves."

Koen Schobbers talks about his experiences as an esports athlete

,,The game industry is bigger than the film and music industry, but the awareness is not. That can grow through what is going to happen here. In Korea, forty thousand people watch ten eSporters gaming the final in a stadium. I used to be excluded at school, seen as a nerd. Now I am presenting on TV, who would have thought that? I hope that many more children can pursue their dream.   

We are still missing a piece of funding," Tuip concluded, "but I am convinced that the first eSports Stadium with an eSports stage and unprecedented LED lighting is going to be here."

Dirk Tuip, second from left, flanked by partner Johan de Punder, Matthijs Vink and councillor Mario Hegger, with an impression of how it will be.

This article appeared in Nieuw-Volendam, weekly newspaper in Municipality Edam / Volendam and was written by Eddy Veerman.

H20 in RegioZaken: Largest centre for gaming, esports and creative tech in Purmerend

This year Purmerend will gain an amazing attraction that will propel the city into the future: the largest (10,000 m2) centre for gaming, esports and creative tech in Europe. In early June, the conversion of the former Sporthal de Koogmolen into an esports gaming centre began, followed by the rest of the school building, which will be transformed into a tech campus. Offices and workplaces for students, startups and companies in the field of gaming, esports and creative tech will be housed here.
At the press launch on 29 May, it still took some imagination to see an esports & gaming centre in the fully clothed former sports hall. One week later, however, the 'wrecking ball' already flew through the building, after which the renovation could begin. The H20 Campus will stand for personal development, competition and education and offering future talents opportunities for a career in esports or a job of the future.

Municipality enthusiastic about esports & gaming centre

Initiators are Dirk Tuip and Matthijs Vink of Stichting H20, two former top athletes who have made tech their business. They are connecting both branches in this initiative, with which they are making their dream come true. The idea has been dormant for six years, ever since they watched a live game and realised that over seven million other people in the world were doing exactly the same thing at that moment. The penny dropped', as it became clear how many young people feel connected to esports and creative tech. The plan for an IT-Tech campus was then further elaborated and finally submitted to the Purmerend town council. Mario Hegger, alderman for economic affairs, gave them an enthusiastic welcome and made it financially possible for them to get started.

Regio Affairs attended the announcement event

Opportunities in esports, gaming and business

For the municipality, the H20 Campus within the city limits means a huge attraction in the field of gaming and technology of the future. From an entrepreneurial point of view, this offers great economic opportunities and the opening up of new markets and talents,' Heggers explains, 'whereby we can set up a training centre together with the business community. He also sees a major role for H20 in contributing to responsible online behaviour among young people, in light of issues such as game addiction and isolation. The fact that esports is a new trend that combines gaming and physical exercise is also an important reason why the municipality is happy to support this project. A little later, Eggers experienced how physical esports can be when he and Koen Schobbers, the first professional Dutch esports player, competed in 'virtual reality' in front of all those present.

Esport is top-class sport

When it comes to esports, Matthijs Vink, as a former top handball player, sees many similarities with top-class sports. Esports is top-class sport. Esports players have the same passion and ambition as top sportsmen. And even though not everyone has what it takes to become a top athlete, we want every young person who comes in here to be inspired, to develop further, and to have a future that they wouldn't have had otherwise. We want to touch them in their passion, we want to be their inspirator with H20, train them, do internships with companies here in the building, organise events etc.'

Jobs of the future in tech, gaming and esports

Dirk Tuip: "We want to train esporters here who can compete at the top in the whole world. At H20 they can develop their talent in this. But young people who come here to play games can also pursue their passion for tech here and train themselves for a job of the future in tech/IT/marketing. ICT is needed in everything and certainly creative tech is a big business. The gaming industry is growing tremendously.
It is now five times larger than the film industry, and six times larger than the music industry. Gamers, esporters and influencers are the developers of the future. And maybe we're a little early with this grand scheme in the Netherlands, but we'd rather be too early than too late.'
The completion of the esports gaming stadium will take place this year, the campus early next year. On the website, visuals outline what it will be like. Incidentally, new partners are also welcome to join H20 in further developing the location, purchased in cooperation with a real estate agent in Amsterdam.

Author: Nelleke Vogel, 7th Sense communications & PR
Source: RegioZaken Waterland