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[1] The term technological tsunami has been borrowed from Prof. J.W. Drukker. Drukker referred to successive eras of major technological change, often compared to a wave, as ‘tsunamis’ to indicate their sudden nature and their
far-reaching consequences. JW Drukker, ‘Things to come’, Speech at the University of Twente, 3 December 2009. 

[2] Both ownership and use of computers increased: the number of Dutch households with a computer grew from 9% in 1985 to 49% in 1995. Gussenhoven, Founding NEMO (2013), 216. In 2019, 79% of households owned a laptop (and 89% a smartphone). Source: CBS.

[3] The miniaturisation of electronic components began in 1971, when Intel launched the first microprocessor. No bigger than a few millimeters, this 4-bit processor had the same computing power as the first electronic room-size computer from 1946.

[4] Gussenhoven, Founding NEMO (2013), 218. Cited from NRC Handelsblad. 26 September 1984, De opkomst van de computernetwerken. Een leven zonder netwerk is ondenkbaar’.

[5] In 2005, 17% of the population was online, by 2019 this had increased to 51%. NB ‘being online’ is defined as having been online at least once in the last three months. Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU) via

[6] Interview with Wahyu Hariyono, 2 July 2021.

[7] See also story 6 about the green roots of the firm planted by the British.

[8] The said agreements were made in 1997 and set down in the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. Gussenhoven (2013), 298-299 and 302-303.

[9] Take, for example, The Virgin Earth Challenge in 2007, in which Al Gore and Richard Branson challenged businesses to come up with solutions for tackling the greenhouse effect. 

[10] Pronouncements made by the three respective presidents of the US National Academy of Engineering, the British Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Van der Vleuten, Oldenziel en Davids, Engineering the future, understanding the past: a social history of technology. (2017), 163-167.

[11] The situation worldwide was described in exceptionally dramatic words: “excessive consumption of fossil fuels is contributing to global warming and air pollution […] the world population escalates […] rural areas are under pressure as never before”. Annual Report Royal HaskoningDHV 2013, 10-11. In 2009 Royal Haskoning called ‘sustainability and innovation’ one of its core strengths. Annual Report Royal Haskoning 2009, 16.

[12] Referred to by the term SaaS: Software as a Service.

[13] See story 2, De Koning in Egypt, note 5.

[14] And while in 1965 - viewed from the West - there was still a ‘developed’ and a ‘developing’ part, in 2017, 85% of humankind belonged to the developed world. The hallmark of development: a higher income coupled with small families and low rates of infant mortality. Rosling, H., Rosling, O., & Rönnlund, A. R., Factfulness: ten reasons we’re wrong about the world - and why things are better than you think. (2018), 34-38.

[15] As it happens, the university was founded by the Dutch colonial government in 1920. See

[16] Interview with Wahyu Hariyono, 2 July 2021.

[17] Interview with Máire Bradley, 30 June 2021.

[18] For years, DHV and Royal Haskoning rode the waves of technological developments (and other related economic developments) across the globe. See also story 5 in this series.

[19] Interview with Piyush Katakwar, 7 July 2021.

[20] Her website still exists today: Interview with Yasmine Wiersema, 30 June 2021.


[22] For example, by 2030, the United Kingdom aims to provide all its houses with energy generated from offshore wind farms. In this framework, Royal HaskoningDHV is working on EIAs (Environmental Impact Assessments) for the North Falls Offshore Wind Farm, East Anglia ONE North and East Anglia TWO. Interview with Melissa Roe-Ely (1994), marine biologist and consultant at Royal Haskoning in Liverpool, 1 July 2021.

[23] See also story 8 in this series.

[24] Interview with Yasmine Wiersema, 30 June 2021.

[25] Barnwell, M., Design and Culture: A Transdisciplinary History (2021), 4.