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Urban Professional and Youth Awards Winners 2020

Henk Ovink

Urban Professional Award Winner

Henk Ovink

the Netherlands

Special Envoy International Water Affairs


The Netherlands is famous for its altitude below sea level. This situation calls for real solutions and careful urban and environmental planning. The country’s integrated approach to water shortages, safety and quality is the key that makes it the leader of the field. According to Henk Ovink, there is a great opportunity in sharing the Dutch know-how and utilizing it on an international level.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Mr. Ovink was a senior advisor of the US Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, developed and led the Rebuild by Redesign contest as Principal. The winner project was used to rebuild the New York & New Jersey regions and changed the US approach to disaster response.

As from 2015, he is the first Special Envoy for International Water Affairs of the Netherlands, a position that requires economic diplomacy. He is responsible for keeping good relations with the business community, the civil organisations and foreign governments as well. Mr. Ovink is also a member of the International Advisory Board for the City of Rotterdam and was a Curator for the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012 called ‘Making City’.

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