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Dutch Data Center Association Welcomes Dick Theunissen to Its Board

April 8, 2020

This month, the Dutch Data Center Association (DDA) named Dick Theunissen, our Managing Director EMEA, and two other industry peers to its board. Dick’s nomination marks the DDA’s first ever expansion of its board since its inception in 2015 – from five to seven members. According to Stijn Grove, the DDA’s director, this move is important to ensure the organization is ready to address the needs of the Netherland’s diverse data center industry, which is currently experiencing enormous growth.

This past week, EdgeConneX Marketing sat down with Dick for more information on the type of valuable work he will be doing for the DDA and the wider industry. Here’s what he shared.

DDA Meeting with King Willem-Alexander
Dick Theunissen (right) attending DDA Meeting with King Willem-Alexander (left)

What does it mean to you to be named to the board of the Dutch Data Center Association?

The Dutch Data Center Association is the official Dutch association representing the data center industry in the Netherlands to the government, media and the Dutch society in general in order to facilitate economic development and growth.

The DDA plays an important role in the dialogue between the industry players and the local/national government in terms of policy (for example the recent build-stop in Amsterdam).

It is an honor to be named to their board, because it gives me a direct role in helping shape the country’s digital future.

As a member of EdgeConneX, what kind of experience can you bring to promote the sector’s interests in the Netherlands? 

Although EdgeConneX is a relatively young player in the Dutch market, we have grown into a top three position in only 5 years. We serve some of the same, but also many different customer interests in this market. Representing those interests helps the sector and government (local and national) to align and ensure future growth to fuel the country’s competitive position in the global digital arena.

Over the past year, it seems environmental sustainability has become a top-of-mind issue for both the Dutch government and the data center industry. How do you see these two bodies working together for the greater good?

Environmental sustainability is top of mind for any government these days, not only in the Netherlands. The DDA and its members are putting in great efforts to ensure that data centers across the country are designed and operated in an environmentally efficient manner.

However, it is not only the government and the sector that are shaping this trend. We also see pressure from our customers to limit their carbon footprint around the world. Therefore, it is our joint responsibility to deliver our services as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

In your opinion, why is the Netherlands an attractive destination for international data center operators like EdgeConneX? 

When the Internet was built (Amsterdam was one of the first 3 points in the Internet, together with CERN and Palo Alto) in the 1990s, the Dutch shores became a landing point for many sea cable systems. This turned a country that was trading in spices hundreds of years ago into one that ‘traded’ bits and bytes.

Over the past 30 years, Amsterdam has become a global connectivity hub for many global players to serve their customers on mainland Europe. Within 10ms, most European capitals and their end-users can be reached for network, content and cloud services.

The abundance of fiber and interconnectivity at the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMSIX), combined with favorable government policies and the ‘easy to do business’ attitude of the Dutch has made the Netherlands a great country to do business in.
DDA meeting with His Majesty King Willem-Alexander

How do you plan to use your role with the Dutch Data Center Association to further interest in the Dutch market?

I play an active role the current process of policy making regarding the data center sector in the Netherlands.

It is important to strike a good balance between sustainability and the availability of power on one side and the ever-growing need to build digital infrastructure on the other side. Being a front runner in this field will continue to make the Netherlands an attractive location for global service providers wanting to serve their end users in an effective way.

As part of your mission to re-architect the internet, do you have any future thoughts about expanding further in the country, beyond Amsterdam?

At this stage we do not have any plans to further expand in the country. However, the deployment of 5G may change that perspective in the coming years and we would be excited to be part of that transition. No matter what, we believe in empowering our customers to take advantage of the multi-directional traffic flows edge computing and 5G demand.

Given that 5G offers a theoretical throughput of up to 10 Gbps and can support 1 million smart (IoT) devices per square kilometer, data center proximity and ultra low-latency networks will be crucial throughout the Netherlands. Instead of unilaterally shuttling traffic from an endpoint to a cloud core for storage and analysis, service providers and application developers will need the capability to place their workloads anywhere along a spectrum that involves end-user devices, multiple edges and the cloud.

That’s why we recently partnered with Ori, the company behind the edge computing platform DNA. Deployed in our Amsterdam data center (and two other EdgeConneX locations in Europe), Ori empowers developers, including those building 5G-compatible applications, to build a fast, intelligent control layer that can deploy from anywhere to manage anything, including cloud, telco services and endpoint devices.

This partnership is about bringing compute, storage, and network resources that exist over distributed networks across different providers under one management umbrella. As European carriers continue to navigate towards 5G, this kind of relationship will support us in serving as key enablers of the underlying digital infrastructure needed.

Thanks for your thoughts and insights!


If you have any questions about what EdgeConneX can do for you in Europe, reach out at info@edgeconnex.com.