Looking back on Blue Innovation Village in 2024

From May 23 to 26, Blue Cluster oganised the second edition of the Blue Innovation Village during Oostende voor Anker (Ostend voor Anker). In the Blue Innovation Village, visitors were introduced to various innovative projects, services and products in the blue economy.
29 May 2024

Ostend at Anchor is the maritime festival on the Belgian coast. Many visitors come to the seaside resort every year to marvel at historic ships and crafts. However, there are also many innovative economic activities taking place at sea. The Blue Innovation Village introduces the sustainable blue economy to the public.

Many members and partners of Blue Cluster were present again this year in the Blauw Innovation Village to inform visitors about innovations linked to the North Sea. Various themes were discussed, such as coastal protection with nature-friendly solutions, renewable energy, passive fishing, modern shipping and sustainable water use.

Blauw Innovatiedorp 2024


In 2024, the Blue Innovation Village moved to a brand new site: the SKY district, located between the train station and Kappellebrug bridge. All the exhibitors' tents were set up in one continuous row, which enhanced the overall village feeling. A gate was also provided at both entrances to the village so as to significantly increase the visibility of the Blue Innovation Village.

Also new this year was that we had our own stage in the Blauw Innovation Village; visitors could take a seat in front of the stage to rest and enjoy some live music. We also used this stage to organise a number of lectures and to hold a panel discussion between some of our exhibitors.

In addition, we organised various guided tours in the Blue Innovation Village for the first time. No fewer than four hundred pupils became better acquainted with the blue economy in Flanders, including a group of students from Barcelona. These tours provided great added value for our exhibitors.

Blauw Innovatiedorp 2024


The Blue Innovation Village had 10 exhibitors spread over 14 tents and 2 containers. Below you can find an overview of the exhibitors and what was on display at the stands.

Gold Partners

Jan De Nul

Jan De Nul is involved in a wide range of activities, including dredging, installing offshore wind turbines and heavy installations, and laying underground cables.

At the stand you could view an unmanned survey vessel, try out VR glasses and take a ride with a dumper truck in a simulator. There was also a photo booth, and the kids could color their own T-shirt.


VITO demonstrated various techniques to make better use of rainwater on industrial estates and promoted greening with more trees, ponds, and greener parking spaces.

The stand also contained various booklets and games to convey the problem of water scarcity in Flanders in an understandable way to young and old.

Fabrieken voor de toekomst / The Reef

Fabrieken voor de Toekomst (Factories for the Future) and The Reef are involved in, among other things, the dismantling of wind turbines, offshore testing platforms and training infrastructure for the blue economy.

The stand featured several drones and a model of the Blue Accelerator, an offshore testing platform in the Belgian North Sea. You could also play a game about recycling offshore wind turbines that have reached the end of their lifespan.

University of Antwerp

The University of Antwerp is involved in, among other things, nature-based solutions, ecosystem protection, AI use in shipping, and projects for the European Green Deal.

At the stand you could become acquainted with various current and past projects. There was also a test setup that demonstrated the added value of natural protection of our coast.

Blue Cluster

Blue Cluster brings companies, institutions and governments together to start innovative projects in the blue economy. We are also the coordinator of the Blue Innovation Village.

In our stand you could watch various videos about the blue economy, learn more about the winners of the Blue Innovation Awards and discover the finalists of our drawing competition. There was also a craft corner for the kids.

Silver Partners


The company DEME specialises in offshore wind projects, tackles pollution at sea, and is involved in land reclamation. They actively strive for a more sustainable world and have more than 5,500 employees from 80 nationalities.

At the DEME stand you could test out VR glasses, view various scale models of their ships, and take a ride with a dumper truck on a simulator.


ILVO conducts research into passive fishing and aquaculture, focuses on plastic pollution and studies the impact of offshore wind farms on the seabed.

At the stand you could learn more about sustainable fishing techniques, see various jars with marine organisms, and test your knowledge of the marine ecosystem on a computer.


Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) conducts research into the impact of climate change on the North Sea and is concerned with the interaction between the ocean and human health.

Their charity work was central to the stand. For example, you could buy various nice T-shirts and hoodies. There were also several educational games for children.

Antwerp Maritime Academy

Antwerp Maritime Academy offers various maritime courses and conducts research into hydrography and coastal erosion, among other topcs. They also try to find solutions to various challenges for the shipping industry.

At the stand you could learn more about the various training courses and the various projects they are working on, such as the use of simple sensors to tackle problems such as corrosion and ship emissions.

KU Leuven Brugge

KU Leuven - Bruges department conducts research into, among other things, the foundations of wind turbines and coastal protection with dunes. In this context, they carry out various drone flights on the coast every month.

There were various posters in the stand that provided some explanation of their activities. There were also demonstrations of some of the projects they are currently working on.

Blauw Innovatiedorp 2024

Future plans

Judging from the reactions of visitors and exhibitors, the second edition of the Blue Innovation Village was a bull's eye. We are already looking forward to the next edition and have several ideas to develop the concept even further.

But that's all still in the future at the moment. We will first evaluate everything thoroughly, and at the beginning of September we will start working on plans for next year. In the meantime, we would like to invite you to relive the atmosphere of the second edition below...

Opening of the Blue innovation Village

Lectures and panel discussion

Musical performances

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