On the occasion of the visit, NUS renames its water research facility in honour of Mr Karel Willem Benjamin van Kleef
Newswise — Singapore, 25 January 2013 -- Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Foreign Trade as well as a high-level business delegation, today visited the Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (SDWA) and NUSDeltares and gained insights and updates on the latest water research collaborations between scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and their Dutch partners.
Singapore and the Netherlands are global leaders in sustainable water management. The two countries’ complementary strengths in water form the basis for synergistic cooperation, spawning a series of water-related research programmes and projects that have been successfully conducted between NUS and its partners in the Netherlands over the past six years through strategic alliances such as SDWA and NUSDeltares.
SDWA research is centered on the interaction of natural and urban environments embracing water supply systems and the urban water cycle as a core of their research activities. Building on the achievements of SDWA, a new alliance NUSDeltares was established in 2012, with the intention to bring scientific impact to address societal needs in South-east Asia.
The visit was hosted at the NUS Aquatic Science Centre (ASC), which is managed by SDWA, where researchers showcased cutting-edge research work on urban water management and water sensitive urban design, as well as building with nature for inland and coastal water systems.
The ASC is a state-of-the-art environmental observatory and experimental facility for in-depth studies on freshwater processes. Opened in July 2011, the 1,800 sqm outdoor research facility brings together environmental scientists, social scientists, engineers and policy makers to develop integrated and sustainable approaches to urban freshwater management. The ASC is also used for training, knowledge sharing and public outreach.
On the occasion of the visit of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Their Royal Highnesses, NUS renamed its water research facility, which houses the ASC, the “Van Kleef Centre” in honour of Mr Karel Willem Benjamin van Kleef.
Professor Tan Eng Chye, Acting NUS President, said: "NUS is deeply honoured to welcome Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Their Royal Highnesses and delegation to the ASC, a focal point for many cutting-edge water research projects involving NUS and our Dutch partners under the auspices of the SDWA and NUSDeltares. We are also privileged to rename our water research facility as a tribute to Mr Karel Willem Benjamin van Kleef, who is best remembered for bequeathing his wealth for the construction of the Van Kleef Aquarium, which introduced earlier generations of Singaporeans to the wonders of marine and freshwater life.”
“Since the Van Kleef Aquarium was demolished in 1996, there is no longer any memorial to Mr Van Kleef’s generous gift to the people of Singapore. We are delighted that Professor Tommy Koh led an initiative to rename the physical facility housing the ASC after Mr Van Kleef, so that his spirit of generosity could live on through this NUS research facility bearing his name.”
Associate Professor Vladan Babovic, Director of SDWA, said, “The ASC, which is dedicated to the development of sustainable solutions to urban freshwater management, serves as an important platform to promote research partnerships between Singapore and the Netherlands. The Van Kleef Centre, which houses the ASC, will be an icon that symbolises the long-lasting friendship between the two countries.”
About Mr Karel Willem Benjamin van Kleef
Mr Karel Willem Benjamin van Kleef was a Dutchman who resided in Singapore in the 19th and early 20th century. As a broker, a commission agent and a certified expert in mine drilling, he made a considerable fortune in property and stock in both Holland and Singapore. Upon his death, he donated his wealth to the Municipal Government of Singapore. The gift was eventually used to construct the Van Kleef Aquarium, Singapore's first aquarium, which was opened in September 1955. The Van Kleef Aquarium was eventually demolished in 1998.