© Hollandse Hoogte

CBS Seminar Big Data Matters - Towards Smart Statistics

Big Data Matters. Big Data has the power to improve efficiency, accuracy and timeliness in information-led work practices, thus providing tools for enhanced policy support to governments and industries. This is why Statistics Netherlands (CBS) set up the Center for Big Data Statistics (CBDS) in September 2016. At the CBDS, we unite CBS’ expertise in the field of big data technology and method implementation with the expertise of more than 40 collaborative partners from government, the business community, science and education. Together, we are working towards smart statistics.

On Wednesday, 27 September 2017 – exactly one year after the CBDS was established – we will take stock of the progress made over the past year during the seminar Big Data Matters – Towards Smart Statistics which will be held at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen. What are the results of big data innovation over the past year, both within and outside the CBS organisation? What kind of opportunities have we gathered from big data-driven work? What about challenges and issues, and more importantly, how do we take these on?


In the keynote speech Big Data – The day after tomorrow, Peter Hinssen (founder of nexxworks, lecturer at London Business School and MIT Sloan School of Management, among others) will tell you about the new normal and the role of big data in this development. Hinssen is an internationally renowned technology entrepreneur who crosses the globe to give lectures about the impact of technology on society and the digital world. Next, provincial executive member of Limburg Province Twan Beurskens will illustrate the added value of big data for policy development while CBDS Managing Director Magchiel van Meeteren and Scientific Director Sofie De Broe will introduce the CBDS’ area of activity using concrete examples.

During lunch you will have ample networking opportunities while information stands will be available with more details about the CBDS’ services and partners.

The afternoon programme consists of two parallel sessions with three presentations each by our guest speakers. The first session will focus on big data applications, and the accompanying challenges are explained during the second session. This is done as much as possible by citing examples of best practices.
Our programme continues with a talk by Andy Tatem (a.o. WorldPop and Flowminder Foundation, a collaborative framework of researchers from Harvard, Stanford and other universities) on the latest developments in big data (methodology) contributions to health care policies. The seminar will round up with a summary of the day’s main conclusions by chairman of the day Maurice Olivers. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to meet with the speakers, CBDS partners and other visitors during network drinks and a walking dinner.

A detailed description of the parallel sessions can be found in the full programme.
Below is a concise timetable for Big Data Matters:

09.30  Registration
10.15  Welcome by chairman of the day Maurice Olivers (Brightlands)
10.20  Opening by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) director general Tjark Tjin-A-Tsoi
10.30  Big Data -The day after tomorrow: keynote door Peter Hinssen (o.a. nexxworks, London Business School en MIT Sloan School of Management)
11.15  Network Coffee

 Center for Big Data Statistics – The value of big data for policy: presentation by Twan Beurskens (Limburg Province), Magchiel van Meeteren (CBS) and Sofie De Broe (CBS)

12.30  Network lunch
13.30  Parallel session 1: Big data applications
   Mapping mobility: painting a more detailed picture of traffic and transport with big data
   Sensors going smart: collecting big data for energy transition policy and statistics on agriculture
   Sharing is caring: combining access-restricted data across multiple sites in a privacy-preserving manner
14.30  Network coffee
15.00  Parallel session 2: Challenges posed by big data
   Useful.Beautiful.Data: methodological and IT challenges in the analysis and visualisation of big data
   Panel discussion: Right or wrong? Rules, regulations and ethics in a data driven world
   What happens online, stays online: measuring the internet economy with big data
16.15  Presentation by Andy Tatem (a.o. Flowfinder)
16.45  Wrap up & closing led by chairman of the day Maurice Olivers
17.00  Network drinks en walking dinner
20.00  End of programme


Big Data Matters – Towards Smart Statistics is aimed at anyone working with and/or interested in big data. Therefore, this seminar is of interest to professionals including executives, policymakers, data scientists and researchers.

Language of communication

English is the main language of communication at the Big Data Matters- Towards Smart Statistics seminar.


Big Data Matters – Towards Smart Statistics takes place at the Brightlands Smart Services Campus, address Smedesstraat 2, Heerlen, the Netherlands. You can find travel directions on the Brightlands Smart Services Campus website.


The maximum number of participants has been reached, registration is not possible anymore.

About our speakers

Peter Hinssen nexxworrk (BE)

Peter is internationally known as a serial technology entrepreneur and book author. He gives lectures all over the world about the impact of technology on society and the digital world he calls the new normal. He is a popular keynote speaker at IT conferences around the world. He lectures at various international business schools including London Business School, TiasNimbas Business School, Vlerick Management School and Antwerp Management School. In the second half of 2010, he was asked to serve as special advisor to the Belgian government to develop IT strategy 2020.

Twan Beurskens, Province of Limburg (NL)

Twan Beurskens has been Member of the Executive Council on behalf of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in charge of Economic Affairs and Knowledge Infrastructure in the Province of Limburg since 2012. His main portfolio activities are economic policy, acquisition, large projects and the development of the Brightlands campuses.

Sofie De Broe, CBS (NL)

Sofie De Broe is Head of Methodology at CBS in Heerlen and Scientific Director at the Center for Big Data Statistics. Sofie has a PhD in Social Statistics from Southampton University and wrote a thesis on reproductive health in Guatemala. She worked as a researcher at the Office for National Statistics for six years, measuring migration to and from the UK using e-borders and other data, and subsequently lectured at the University of Duisburg-Essen from 2012 to 2015. Sofie joined CBS in September 2015.

Magchiel van Meeteren, CBS (NL)

Magchiel van Meeteren is Managing Director of the Center for Big Data Statistics (CBDS). His background is in technical physics. The scope of his work lies at the intersection of business, IT and organisational change. At the CBDS, Magchiel is in charge of overall operations, the network of partners and all communications.

Piyushimita (Vonu) Thakuria, Urban Big Data Centre (UK)

Vonu is the Ch2M Chair of Transport and Professor of Urban Studies and Affiliated Professor of the School of Engineering in the University of Glasgow. She is the founding Director and Principal Investigator of the Urban Big Data Centre funded by Research Council UK's Economic and Social Research Council that includes a national data service to inspire innovations for sustainable and socially just cities. The UBDC is a 7-university interdisciplinary consortium led by University of Glasgow, with the universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge, Sheffield, Reading, Bristol and Illinois-Chicago as partners, and with MOUs or other forms of collaboration with selected Australian, US and Chinese institutions. Vonu is currently a European Commission Marie Curie Fellow.
Vonu's research interests lie in smart, socially-just and sustainable transport and theories and methods explaining transport policies and services and traveller behaviour. She is more broadly interested in Urban Informatics or the analytics of emerging sources of Big Data to understand complex urban problems.

Ioannis Tsalamanis, Office for National Statistics (UK)

Ioannis is a data scientist at the Data Science Campus of Office for National Statistics in UK. He holds a PhD in Optical Fibre Networks, an MSc in Data Science and a MEng in Electronic Systems. He has 10 years’ experience as an academic; he was member of European Framework projects and co-owner of an IT company. Currently, he is exploring the use of open source software and the application of machine learning techniques in projects for the public good.

Marco Puts, CBS (NL)

Dr. Marco Puts has a background in computer science and cognitive science. He received his PhD degree in the field of psychophysics. Because of his broad, multidisciplinary background in computer science and social sciences, he developed an almost natural interest in Big Data, Data Science and processing large amounts of data. He has been involved in pioneering Big Data at Statistics Netherlands from the start, was heavily involved in the Big Data Sandbox of the UNECE and is a member of the Big Data Task Force of Eurostat. He presented his work on big data methodology and processes at several conferences and workshops.

Matthijs Vonder, TNO (NL)

Matthijs Vonder is sr. Research Scientist at TNO, in the department Monitoring & Control Services. As an IT-architect and project leader, Matthijs is involved in projects with multiple stakeholders, focusing on Large Scale (Infrastructure) Monitoring. Typical projects are IJkdijk, Floodcontrol, Smart Dairy Farming and Data Intensive Smart Agriculture Chains.

Maiki Ilves, Statistics Estonia (EST)

Maiki Ilves is deputy head of the Methodology and Analysis Department at Statistics Estonia. She coordinates the smart meters pilot in the ESSnet Big Data project.

Ralph Meijers, CBS (NL)

Ralph coordinates the theme of Energy at the CBDS, which involves exploring possibilities to map the current situation in energy transition, e.g. for municipalities, in a more timely and detailed manner by using big data. In addition, Ralph works as a sampling expert at CBS’ Data collection division. In this role and in the past, he has been instrumental in the creation of new innovative processes.

Michel Dumontier, Institute of Datascience @Maastricht University (NL)

Dr. Michel Dumontier is a Distinguished Professor of Data Science at Maastricht University. His research focuses on the development of computational methods for scalable integration and reproducible analysis of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data. Dr. Dumontier leads a new inter-faculty Institute for Data Science at Maastricht University with a focus on accelerating discovery science, empowering communities, and improving health and well being.

Johan van Soest, MAASTRO Clinic @Maastricht University (NL)

Johan is a PhD Student at MAASTRO clinic, working on the centralized and distributed learning of prognostic/predictive models in radiation oncology. Especially with a focus on
knowledge representation, methods for validation of existing models, and translation into clinical practice.

Bob van den Berg, CBS (NL)

As a project manager at the CBDS, Bob is responsible for developing new products, business models and partnerships. He has 10 years’ working experience in the management of various projects, onsultancy roles and an educational background in IT. He now applies this experience to his work at the CBDS in order to capture promising ideas and turn them into concrete results.

Piet Daas, CBS (NL)

Piet Daas is a senior methodologist at CBS and a lead data scientist at the Center for Big Data Statistics. His research focuses on the use of big data for official statistics production, in particular the methodology and selectivity. Piet is an active participant in European and other international big data projects. In addition, he teaches big data training courses within the European Statistical Training Programme and as part of the European Master in Official Statistics at Utrecht University. Piet earned the distinction cum laude for both his Master’s and doctoral degree in natural sciences from Nijmegen University.

Jacob Tomlinson, Met Office (UK)

Jacob is the lead engineer for the Met Office Informatics Lab with experience in software development, operational system engineering and cloud architecture. He uses these skills to ensure the lab is building robust prototypes that are pushing the boundaries of technology.

Tom Smith, Data Science Campus@Office for National Statistics (UK)

Tom is co-founder and Managing Director of OCSI, a research and technology 'spin-out' company from the University of Oxford. He has 20 years’ experience using data and analysis to improve public and community services. He is chair of the Environment Agency Data Advisory Group, vice-chair of the Royal Statistical Society Official Statistics section, and previously a member of the Open Data User Group ministerial advisory group to Cabinet Office.

Michail Skaliotis, Eurostat (LU)

Joined the European Commission in 1982. Worked in almost all areas of social statistics (labour market, education, health, demography, tourism, social protection, information society, etc). Management responsibilities since 1993. Former member in the Governing Board of Unesco's Institute of Statistics. Current research interests include the 'role of official statistics in digital times'.
As of 1st January 2014 nominated Head of the Task Force - Big Data.

Peter Struijs, CBS (NL)

Peter co-ordinates the ESSnet Big Data, a multi-country research project of the European Statistical System on using big data for official statistics. He is also involved in the Center for Big Data Statistics (CBDS) of CBS. Before working on big data, he held the position of Head of Unit for process development and quality management. Earlier, he worked at Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the EU.

Andrej Zwitter, Groningen University (NL)

Andrej Zwitter holds the NGIZ Chair of International Relations and Ethics at the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen. He is a senior fellow at Canterbury Christ Church, University, UK. Andrej Zwitter's current research foci include Big Data ethics and politics, innovation governance, state of emergency politics, as well as law and politics of humanitarian action. Zwitter has published widely on the ethics, politics and governance of Big Data. He recently published the edited volume "Big Data Challenges: Society, Security, Innovation and Ethics". In addition, he conducts trainings in Big Data ethics for professional data scientists and data protection officers and provides consultation to national and international agencies.

Evelyn Ruppert, University of London (UK)

Bastiaan Zijlema (Dataprovider, NL)

Senior data scientist

Oscar Delnooz (Ministry of Economic Affairs, NL)

Oscar is MT-lid ICT en Economie bij het ministerie van Economische Zaken.

Bastiaan Rooijakkers (CBS, NL)

Bastiaan is head of the CBS Centre for Policy Related Statistics in Heerlen. He has longstanding experience in economic statistics and is involved in many innovation trajectories including the Internet economy big data project. In addition, he is in charge of the Urban Data Centers in the southern part of the Netherlands as well as the Provincial Data Center in Limburg province.

Professor Andy Tatem

Andy is director of the WorldPop and Vector-borne Disease Airline Importation Risk research projects, and co-director of the Flowminder Foundation. Flowminder staff are all affiliated to academic institutions, including Harvard University, Karolinska Institute, Southampton University and Stockholm School of Economics. His work is focused on spatial demography, the application of population and urbanization mapping for malaria burden estimation, the dispersal of diseases and their vectors through global transport networks and quantifying population movements in relation to malaria elimination planning. Andy is a member of the Malaria Atlas Project, the Malaria Elimination Group and the Research and Policy in Infectious Disease Dynamics (RAPIDD) program at the Fogarty International Center, and sits on the editorial boards of International Health, Malaria Journal and Methods in Ecology and Evolution. He is currently leads a range of research projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Clinton Health Access Initiative, UN Foundation, World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, ESRC, USAID, Belgian Science Foundation, NORAD and the National Institutes of Health.

Maurice Olivers (Brightlands, NL)

Maurice Olivers is in charge of branding and communications at Brightlands. Prior to this, he filled numerous positions at Maastricht University for altogether 28 years, among others in fundraising and in executive education. He often applies that first-hand experience while acting as chairman of the day at both large and small-scale events.