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Jelmer Siekmans

CEO Druckwege

''Here the playing field is more open than elsewhere, here you can grow.''

In Groningen, we are building the future. One of the people contributing to this is Jelmer Siekmans (38). He produces fluids that 3D printers can use to make innovative creations. Jelmer foresees great opportunities for Groningen. ''Here the playing field is more open than elsewhere, here you can grow.''

As a child, he grew up in Winsum, a village northwest of the city of Groningen. Every time he received a birthday present, he would dismantle it after only five minutes. He didn't break it, but he was eager to know how it was put together. ''I not only wanted to understand how to take something apart, but especially how to rebuild it'' Jelmer smiles. This curiosity run like a thread through the rest of his life. He has studied mechanical engineering in Groningen and has left for Eindhoven University of Technology to learn all about industrial design.

''I soon found out that I was more technical than my fellow students,'' Jelmer says. He was looking for challenge, for growth. In the years after his studies, he worked at Shapeways and at an engineering company doing projects for ASML, among others. At Shapeways, he helped in the world of 3D printers. Complex and focused on consumers rather than business. It was love at first sight. ''Pure innovation. That's also what I stand for: always trying to be ahead of the curve, on the edge of development.''

Although Jelmer had his place in Eindhoven, he noticed that he was missing something. He was looking for space, literally and figuratively. When his girlfriend got pregnant, he cut the knot. Back to Groningen. Back to basics. But his development didn't stop here. ''The North is an area of opportunities and I was only happy to explore it. Think of precursors like the UMCG hospital, hydrogen production. These are industries that show that here we are frontrunners for innovation'' Jelmer says. This pioneering spirit can also be seen in his own company, Druckwege. Together with a small team, Jelmer makes resin, a kind of liquid for 3D printers using ultraviolet light. ''You can go in many directions with this. I can produce material that is flexible and strong at the same time, or very heat-resistant,'' Jelmer proudly explains.

''It is the place to make a career, but also the place where you can build your private life in peace.''

It is no surprise to him that Groningen also offers opportunities for his sector. ''Here is possibility for growth for start-ups. We therefore need to bring the expertise back to this region,'' he says firmly. in Groningen, there is a strong working climate, but sometimes the people are still missing. In cities like Eindhoven, talent is often swallowed up by tech giants, you don't have those in Groningen. ''Here, then, you have plenty of room to develop yourself and set things up. It's not so saturated: here you can grow and add value.''

Besides the working climate, Jelmer praises the way of living in Groningen. Sometimes taking a step back. He lives in his parental home in Winsum again. When he has had a busy working week, he unloads by the water with his fishing rod. Or he can be found on Schiermonnikoog, his favourite Wadden island. ''People sometimes say Groningen is far away, but actually you have everything close by here. From a bustling city centre to a quiet surrounding countryside. It's the place to make a career, but also the place where you can build your private life in peace.''

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