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Even though students and employees study and work for a few weeks at LAB42 and there was already an open house for its residents, the building had not yet been officially opened. That changed on 22 September though.

That afternoon, the late Alan Turing showed up in animated form. His encouraging message was alternated with interludes by musicians located at various places at the top of the building. Each musician initially played a solo, but towards the end of the video, the piano, violin and drums came together.

The three instruments formed a brilliant symbolism for three disciplines under one roof. Education, Research and Enterprise work together in LAB42, the University of Amsterdam's new hub for digital innovation and AI. The audience consisted of relations from science, politics and business.

Collaboration, inspiration and innovation

After a welcome speech by science journalist and UvA physics alumna Anna Gimbrère, the chairman of the UvA Board of Governors, Geert ten Dam, took the floor. Amsterdam Alderman for Housing and Urban Development Reinier van Dantzig and Jos de Groot on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs were also present for words of praise on behalf of their roles and fields of expertise. 'New innovation for smart cities will come from LAB42,' said the politician. Collaboration, inspiration and innovation were key words emphasised in all speeches.

 

Photo: Monique Kooijmans

‘Incredible building’

The opening speeches ended with another video, this time from Constantijn Van Oranje-Nassau, special envoy at Techleap.nl. Techleap.nl helps to build a thriving startup ecosystem in the Netherlands. During a recent visit to LAB42 he congratulated the UvA on 'the incredible building' and told the residents that he's looking forward to staying closely involved. 'I wish I would have been in a space like this during my university time,' Constantijn said.

I wish I would have been in a space like this during my university time Constantijn Van Oranje-Nassau

Answer tomorrow’s questions together

Attendees were invited to answer 'tomorrow's questions' together, the essence of LAB42, during the Experience Programme. In almost every room there was something new to discover and scientists proudly showed what they are working on. Attendees could play football with robots, test whether they could outsmart Artificial Intelligence or see how to limit the consequences of climate change.

Photos: Monique Kooijmans

The opening ended with a drink and a bite. With hopefully a lot of inspiration, new knowledge and a larger network, the guests left 'the incredible building'.

About LAB42 and the grand opening