Game based app wins Wetskills #25 in Romania

Game based app wins Wetskills #25 in Romania

On May 17 the finals of the 25th edition of Wetskills took place in Bucharest, Romania. Five Dutch-Romanian teams presented interesting out of the box solutions for water related problems. The concept of the winning team includes the development of a smartphone app for cities that want to become climate proof. The app makes it fun for citizens to contribute to climate adaptation. The day ended with a festive reception on the Dutch embassy.


Winners of Wetskills#25

With five strong cases, it was not easy for the jury to choose a winner. Chair of the jury, engineer Dan Constantin of Apele Române: ‘We chose a team with a market ready, feasible and flexible solution.’ Kannard Burer, who presented the case for the jury, explains: ‘Due to climate change, extreme weather events become more frequent. For Bucharest this has consequences like heatstress and flooding. Our case owner asked for a multifunctional method for risk assessment and mitigation. The core of our solution is a game based app, that stimulates citizens in a fun way to collect relevant data on which adaptive solutions can be based. Based on input of other cities in Europe, the app will also show possible solutions.’


Happy Case owner

Case owner Floris Boogard, from Hanzehogeschool Groningen, in the Netherlands, is enthusiastic about the solution: ‘The case I submitted for Wetskills is part of a bigger program in which different European cities are involved. Bucharest is one of them. The solution that the team came up with is great, because what became very, is that in Romania the bottleneck is not the availability of technical knowledge, but the lack of awareness. Bucharest can only become a climate proof city, if people first become aware of the situation. That will bring the motivation to change.’


Cultural differences

Particpants were confronted with more than just one ‘challenge’. Luuk van der Meulen, student of the University of Applied Sciences Van Hall Larenstein and Elena-Adriana Mierloiu, Phd. of the University Politehnica of Bucharest, both part of the winning team, noticed several cultural differences. Mierloiu: ‘Dutch students are more practical and more open. For them it’s more natural to go outside and to interact and discuss things with several people and organizations.’ Van der Meulen adds: ‘The Romanians are more theoretical and more introvert. In their educational system they don’t learn to take initiative, so Dutch students often took a guiding role.’


Celebration at the Dutch Embassy

For both the Dutch and the Romanian participants this Wetskills edition was a successful and fun learning experience. At the reception of the Dutch Embassy, Mrs. Stella Ronnes-Grubačić: ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands congratulated Wetskills as an organization and all the participants that were present: ‘Water is a big issue, in both The Netherlands and Romania. I believe that Wetskills brings a change and will continue doing so. You push boundaries. This was my first Wetskills. It’s inspiring to see how students work together and I’m looking forward to next time.’


Wetskills: ready for more

Wetskills founder Johan Oost: The road towards this 25th edition has professionally and personally been very rewarding. ‘It’s great to see how Wetskills grows and how with that, also friendships and networks grow. This is important because worldwide the amount of water related problems is increasing. Wetskills helps to provide solutions for the future. As Einstein said: ‘We cannot solve problems with the same mindset we created them with.’ So, we need a shift of thinking. Finding out of the box but realistic solutions is exactly what we will continue doing with Wetskills.’


Want to get a taste of Wetskills?
Watch the Wetskills 2017 Romania movie!

Johan Oost

Managing Director Wetskills Foundation