East Netherlands


East Netherlands chairman Vanguard Initiative in 2021

Regional Minister Van Hijum shall be chairman of the Vanguard Initiative on behalf of the collaboration Th!nk East Netherlands in 2021. This European network of 39 innovative industrial regions collaborates on the basis of their Regional Innovative Strategies (RIS3). From East Netherlands, the provinces Overijssel and Gelderland work together with 22 partners – under the flag of Think East Netherlands – to accelerate industrial innovations through European collaboration and funds. Smart and sustainable industries are front and centre in this. In 2021, they will strive for economic recovery and for a sustainable European industrial policy to strengthen the regional innovative ecosystem.

The Added Value of the Vanguard Initiative from Open Up Media on Vimeo.

Vanguard Initiative

The Vanguard Initiative is a network of 39 economically strong regions from all over Europe that work together towards industrial modernisation. The goal is to realise sustainable economic growth through interregional collaboration. By signing the Milan Declaration, the participating regions underline the force of regional innovation and entrepreneurship as a condition for economic growth.

“For 2021, our focus is on the strengthening of our collaboration with other European regions right from the start of new European programs, aimed at economic recovery and a thorough update of the European industrial policy, and with more attention to SMEs.”

East Netherlands is a member of the Vanguard Initiative since 2016 and active in the areas Efficient & Sustainable Manufacturing, 3D-printing and Nano-enabled new products, and Fotonics. The daily management of 2021 further consists of representatives of the regions Aragon, Basque Country, Flanders, Lombardy, Scotland, Slovenia and Wales.

Strengthening regional industry

The network combines our region’s forces and gives impetus to the development of new European value chains. The social challenges can be solved only by cooperating internationally. For Europe to remain competitive in a global market, the development of strong industrial chains is essential. Therefore, the European Commission launches a new European Industrial Strategy in the spring.
The network’s partners are together working on innovation projects in a bottom-up approach. A fine example of this in East Netherlands is the collaboration of SAKER Sportcars and the Han’s Smart Production Centre Field lab with Bologna (Emilia-Romagna region). This project will start next year to develop a new, durable form of wheel suspension with the aid of 3D-printing technology.

New European Funds

Collective lobbying from Vanguard Initiative is an essential part of its work. The result of these lobby activities are, among others, the European Commission’s investments in regional partnerships (S3 platforms) and the possible establishment of a new European fund: “Innovative Investment Initiative (I3). This fund offers ample opportunity for East Netherland’s industry and knowledge institutions, just as a number of other European funds that are due to start from 2021.