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.
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 www.h20.gg, 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