The Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium (English translation: Philips Physics Laboratory) or NatLab was the Dutch section of the Philips research department, which did research for the product divisions of that company.
The NatLab became a superuniversity where the “best of the best” could do research in practically perfect circumstances (full academic freedom, no time devoted to teaching classes, nearly unlimited budgets and so on). Kees Schouhamer Immink, digital pioneer and one of NatLab’s top-scientists, formulated the atmosphere at that time: “We were able to conduct whatever research we found relevant, and had no pre-determined tasks; instead, we received full freedom and support of autonomous research. We went to work, not knowing what we would do that day. This view, or rather ambiguous view, on how research should be conducted, led to amazing inventions as a result. It was an innovation heaven”.
The result was a slew of commercial and fundamental results, including the cassette tape in 1962, Plumbicon camera tube and the Video Long Play disc, which was the technological basis for the 1980 compact disc. Results were also achieved in the area of integrated circuitry: Else Kooi invented the LOCOS technology and Kees Hart and Arie Slob developed the (Integrated Injection Logic) in the early 1970s.
Dick Raaijmakers (using the alias Kid Baltan) and Tom Dissevelt did fundamental user experience research into the first synthesizers, resulting in internationally acclaimed electronic music and jazz music.
Since 2013, Natlab has been a film theater with a wide range of cultural activities. You go to Natlab for the better film, for theater, dance, exhibitions, lectures and debates. In addition, Natlab has a café-restaurant where you can enjoy lunch, dinner or a drink.
Natlab is a listed building and was declared a monument of the European Physical Society (EPS) in 2017.