Northern Netherlands

In the Northern Netherlands, the Provinces – Drenthe, Fryslân and Groningen –  and the for large cities (Groningen, Leeuwarden, Assen and Emmen) are working together for more than twenty years. The overriding aim of the alliance is to strengthen the economy of the North.

As the larges cities in the Northern Netherlands, we aim to connect innovative SME's from the Northern Netherlands with the EU Workingprogrammes on research and innovation (H2020) and financial instruments (ESFI, COSME, SME Instrument). We are the frontrunner of innovative projects related to the economic ecosystem of the cities. We closely work together with knowledge institutions and the regional government (provinces of Drenthe, Fryslan and Groningen).

Our approach is to present concrete high innovative projects in the EU context. The goal is to find partners from other regions and cities, connect them to our projects and perceive new developments and projects which can contribute to our economic challenges. We want to focus on downstream projects; realistic projects that matters for the ecosystem of the cities. With this concrete focus on the content (arise from bottem up) we want to contribute to the new policy for a competitiveness Europe.

The Northern Netherlands have focused on five important areas of knowledge: water technology, energy, sensor technology, agribusiness (bio-based economy) and Healthy Ageing (life sciences). The government, research institutes and business are now actively cooperating in these clusters. The four large cities are coordinating and facilitating concrete projects related to these themes.


“The 21st century has already been named the century of cities or the "urban age". Cities are the powerhouses of economic growth, innovation and employment opportunities and with the growing trend of urbanization the importance of cities is even increasing further. Cities attract people, capital, creativity, they are places of diversification and concentration of social change. New ideas, scientific, technological and creative development and innovation flourish in an urban environment.