Windmills, clogs, cheese, total football, coffeeshops and a boy with his finger in a dike. The Netherlands is known for all of these things, but the tulip is still considered the Dutch national symbol.
What is less known about the Netherlands is ESA's presence. While the American NASA seems to be the most popular kid in class generating lots of attention and pretty popular on social media. ESA is it's European, more introvert classmate. ESA was founded in 1975 by combining two precursor organisations to allow Europe to build the satellites, spacecraft and ground facilities that no single country could afford. Within ESA there is Estec, an ESA complex flanked by sand dunes at Noordwijk on the Dutch coast outside Amsterdam. It happens to be VanderSat's home too. We chose Noordwijk because we wanted to be close to the action. Estec is the organisation’s scientific centre of gravity; imagine a theme park designed by astrophysicists.
Also, VanderSat and Estec are both smack in the middle of bulb flower fields. Spring is in the air right here and it shows. The flower fields are coming alive again and we decided to share some of that with the world leveraging that other typical Dutch expertise: space technology.
Last week one of ESA's satellite passed the Noordoostpolder region and we did a little processing on the Sentinel 2 pictures coming down from the skies, because you don't always need complex algorithms, passive microwaves and remote sensing scientists to appreciate a beautiful view from space.
So here you go, enjoy the view of the fields coming alive. We will talk artificial intelligence, drought forecasting, sensors and crop yield forecasting another day.
Noordoostpolder, The Netherlands as seen by Sentinel 2 on the 12th of March 2016
Noordoostpolder, The Netherlands as seen by Sentinel 2 on the first of April 2016