Instrumentation and Digital Transformation the Dutch way

17 januari 2020

Quest is an international transfer program that connects Arcadians from all over the world. The Quest program is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation. In this blogpost we cover the Quest story of Ajin Janardhanan who travelled from Abu Dhabi, The United Arab Emirates to Amersfoort, The Netherlands.


I was eager to learn more about the water and the wastewater industry in a different part of the world and how its design is being carried out. The main reason why I chose this Quest location is because The Netherlands is the world leader in water management. I wanted to learn more about the instrumentation design being used in The Netherlands and also about the new technology that has been implemented. One of my main goals was to find ways to collaborate with the Dutch office and create new connections. Next to that, Quest would allow me to experience the Dutch culture and learn more about the people.

Highlight of my Quest experience

My first day started with a presentation to the Dutch Water Team introducing myself and my Team (MEICA) and explaining our capabilities. After this, they introduced me to the work and the coffee culture in the Amersfoort office. Finally, at the end of the day they introduced me to the “Dutch bike culture” and I cycled my way back from the office.

Arcadis office in Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Ms. Minke van Rossem introduced me to Zwanenburg Wastewater Treatment Plant and how Arcadis was involved in expansion of the existing plant. After this, I was able to meet Mr. Paul Beemster who is the BIM expert working on the same project. I was introduced to the BIM model that was generated for this project. I was able to learn how point cloud could be used for converting existing structures to 3D models which were also part of the project. They gave me access and an opportunity to have a hands-on experience on the BIM360 platform. And surprisingly, they planned a mini Global Shapers reunion in the evening where I could be a part of.

Catching up with my fellows Shapers of generation 2018 in the Netherlands

I was given the opportunity to visit the Utrecht Wastewater Treatment Plant that was recently built under the supervision of Arcadis. I was able to learn how the design mainly varied from the Middle East to accommodate rainwater and excess water from entering the sewers. In this plant, they introduced me to the new Nereda Technology that was similar to the Sequential Batch Reactor Technology. This technology produces granular sludge at a faster rate and is more compact than conventional methods. However, this was a patented technology and no photography was allowed and information was unavailable in greater detail.

After this visit, I was offered to be shown around Utrecht and learn about the history of Dom square.

Meeting with Mr. Toon Boonekamp to learn more about aquifer storage and recovery and how to modernize water infrastructure to cater for different needs. I was able to meet Mr. Sander Groosman who is the project manager of STP Freeport of Sohar and discuss in detail the projects being undertaken. We were able to identify the possible areas of collaboration that could be taken on in Sohar between the Netherlands office and Middle East. I am looking forward to working together on this project. My trip to the Rotterdam office was eventful and I was able to meet Mr. Sasha Vlaski who is the expert in RO.

Learnings and experiences

I learned about the new process technology which is more efficient and easier to implement. About the BIM360 platform from Autodesk which is available for all Arcadis and being able to get a hands-on experience on the user interface. A visit to the Utrecht WWTP how the installations and instrumentation systems were being used. How a WWTP could merge with the city life. I was able to learn about the areas of design where our teams could work together. One main difference in treated water disposal that I learned was that in Abu Dhabi the treatment is to a higher quality and used for irrigation and in Netherlands it is disposed off to rivers.

I would definitely recommend others to go on a Quest as this is a great learning experience. Quest allows you to experience different work cultures, share knowledge and create global connections with fellow Arcadians. I would like to thank the Lovinklaan foundation for providing me with this opportunity and Mr. Eric van der Zandt for hosting me. Also, thanking my team for supporting me, especially Mr. Manikath Narendran and Mr. Richard David for making this possible. Finally, to all the Arcadians who showed me around the office, specially Mr. Marijn van Son (who helped me with organizing the meetings and explaining how to navigate the city), explaining the Dutch culture, introducing me to Dutch food and offering coffee.

“Experience is the teacher of all things”

By Ajin Janardhanan 

The international transfer program Quest, which connects Arcadians from all over the world, is powered by the Lovinklaan Foundation.