Antwerp City of Innovation

The Beacon Business and Innovation Hub

2 minutes reading time

The Antwerp region is now wearing its own digital seven league boots. Business and innovation hub The Beacon is being developed in Antwerp’s Tolhuis, at the intersection of city and port, with offices for powerhouses in the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, a new joint program was started at UAntwerpen, VUB, KU Leuven and UGent in 2017: a postgraduate in IoT.

This postgraduate in IoT is helping Antwerp discover ways to prepare new, creative talent. And the region is now on the map as an emerging innovative hub. While innovation used to be primarily a matter of technology, added value is becoming increasingly important. It is no longer enough to invent products or services; the separation between product and service is becoming more and more vague. A good innovator must engage in a multidisciplinary approach. This makes the postgraduate Internet of Things an interesting novelty: by combining their strengths, the universities break down the traditional walls between courses.


The Beacon takes IoT one step further. The building offers room for up-and-coming IoT talent. Startups, scaleups, and corporates can apply for office spaces. Startups can also take advantage of coworking areas. Imec and the University of Antwerp have 120 researchers working on IoT in The Beacon. 

The Beacon focuses on three main fields: industry, logistics and smart city. Imec is involved in the third through its City of Things project, which has made Antwerp a test city for developing and rolling out a smart city in Flanders. For example, a network of communicating IoT sensors gives the city an idea of air quality or the number of passers-by. 

“Imec’s mission in Antwerp is to make the city even more liveable via smart pilot projects, always in co-creation with citizens, local stakeholders and international companies. Here in The Beacon we are at the centre of the action. Together with startups, technology partners and Antwerp residents, we want to develop even better applications for the city of tomorrow.” 
Vice President John Baekelmans