Flooding has long been a concern in Europe, but the growing awareness and evidence about the impacts of climate change have pushed it up the agendas of local and national governments across the continent. This October, European stakeholders meet at RAI Amsterdam to share ideas, concerns and solutions at Floodex Europe during the Amsterdam International Water Week.
‘There is a lot of discussion at all levels that much more action should be taken,’ says Annette Bos, Group Director Water at RAI Amsterdam. There is a greater need than ever to share solutions and experiences. The new Floodex Europe trade event running alongside Aquatech Amsterdam later this year responds to this need.
The new concept builds on a clear interest in flooding already present in the participants of Aquatech Amsterdam. ‘It has been an interest of the audience that comes to attend the event and has grown with the addition of the Amsterdam International Water Week Conference,’ says Marieke Leenhouts, Exhibition Director of Floodex Europe. ‘During the last edition we interviewed our exhibitors and visitors and learned that amongst the visitors, a significant amount have an active interest in this topic,’ she says.
A platform for partnerships
Water is a very broad area covering many pressing issues. ‘There are so many different urgent topics now very high on the agenda everywhere,’ says Bos. This has prompted the move to add an event with its own identity in order to give flooding the attention it deserves. The move has sparked interest and support from organisations and associations who focus on flooding. ‘We have been able to reach out to very different associations,’ says Bos. This includes, for example, the Dutch Water Authorities, the UK’s Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), the European Union of Water Management Associations (EUWMA).
The show will be built around the traditional exhibitor stands, but additional features are already lined up to ensure that visitors and exhibitors alike get as much as possible out of the event. In particular, the Floodex Stage will be prominent on the tradeshow floor. ‘With the Floodex Stage, we are bringing knowledge exchange and inspiration to the event,’ says Leenhouts. She notes that flood solutions generally need more than the individual products offered by particular companies. ‘With the Floodex Stage, we are adding the opportunity for the solutions providers and the governments and water managers who need answers to exchange ideas on another level,’ she adds.
The Floodex Stage will also provide an important platform for partners to share their experiences. In particular, EUWMA will bring the input of its various national member associations. ‘All over Europe they have associations which will bring their respective expertise to the show and allow others to learn from these experiences,’ says Leenhouts.
The show will also give a special prominence to flood management projects. ‘Entire projects, usually realised in a partnership or consortium of companies, will also be showcased, both on the tradeshow floor as well as in the Floodex Stage,’ says Leenhouts. The aim is to give an all-round view of actual solutions. ‘The total picture,’ she adds, noting that this will be one of the important ways the show will help stimulate the use and integration of innovations.
The new brand provides a focus for flooding, but importantly Floodex Europe will be taking place as part of the wider Amsterdam offering. Water issues are increasingly acknowledged as being connected rather than independent, notes Bos. ‘We want to offer the world platforms to meet and to learn about all of the challenges around water and the solutions available globally to tackle local challenges,’ she says.
A great early response
The first Floodex Europe is still several months away, but the launch of the event has prompted a great reaction. ‘There’s been a really positive response,’ says Leenhouts. Exhibitors have taken space, associations have already joined as partners, and even the first delegations are signed up. ‘It underlines the interest there is and the urgency of the topic. I think it also highlights the need people see in looking across borders to learn from each other, as water shows isn’t restricted by country borders,’ she adds.
Both Bos and Leenhouts are excited about the prospect of the event. ‘For me, part of the excitement is about connecting the people in Aquatech Amsterdam and the people in the Conference with this segment, and being able to offer them even more opportunities to work on water challenges,’ says Leenhouts. ‘I can speak for the whole team when I say we love water and want to help solve the major issues,’ says Bos. ‘This means providing drinking water and cleaning wastewater, but also making sure everyone is safer. Floodex Europe will contribute to that.