East Netherlands


European recognition for East Netherlands innovation policy and Dutch corona policy

The EU-project ROCKET (Regional Collaboration on Key Enabling Technologies) received the EURADA Award 2020 on December 15. Each year, the award is presented to a European project with impact. This time it was given during an online conference of EURADA: the umbrella organisation of European development agencies. The jury members were impressed by ROCKET’s results: innovation through collaboration between German and Dutch SME-companies. Oost NL is ROCKET’s lead partner. Besides ROCKET, the representatives of European regional development agencies showed a keen interest in the economic policy implemented during the coronavirus period by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. EURADA gave the ‘Committed to Excellence’ Award 2020 to Innovation Quarter (IQ) for its fund UNIIQ – Finance for the Future.


The way in which the Dutch industry is supported by the government during the COVID-19 crisis was revealed by Pieter Waasdorp, director Entrepreneurship of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy during the EURADA conference. In a keynote speech, Waasdorp explained which measures were included into the government’s support packages, and what experience has been gained with this. 

“The Regional Development Agencies, as part of important innovation ecosystems, are equipped, among others, to extend additional outside funds and convertible loans to innovative SMEs which would otherwise find difficulties in securing funding. Furthermore, I would like to stress that Oost NL and IQ received this award for an outstanding achievement.”

Pieter Waasdorp, director Entrepreneurship of the Ministry of Economic Affairs


Key Enabling Technologies 

The ROCKET-initiative received an honourable mention for its cross-border ‘Regional Collaboration on Key Enabling Technologies’ project. ROCKET is an innovation project initialised by Oost NL as part of the Dutch-German INTERREG VA program. This project is focused on stimulating cross-border innovation in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) between Dutch and German SMEs. The ROCKET partners supported 127 SME-entrepreneurs during the 2016-2020 period. This resulted in eleven technological innovation projects, which in turn initiated the development of 69 prototypes for new products and over €10 million in investments in further product development.


“We are proud to make a contribution from Gelderland to the Dutch effort relating to innovations in SME. These are not just innovations – the new products developed by our companies via ROCKET, have a fine social function. For example, the development of better material in fuel cells. That brings us one step closer to the sustainable use of hydrogen as a fossil fuel alternative. To have our German neighbours contributing to this and profiting from it, is wonderful off course.”

Christianne van der Wal Regional minister of the Gelderland Province


“With the European ROCKET project, we offer companies in the border region the chance to further develop. Doors which were previously closed are now opened and it is giving a boost to innovations. Not just in our own country, but across the border particularly, with unlimited future possibilities as a consequence.

Theo Föllings, manager Business Development Oost NL


Dutch – German innovations

INTERREG VA is a large European program for the stimulation of border regions and for solving issues in cross-border innovation activities. The INTERREG VA-program’s goal is for the innovative SMEs in the Dutch-German border region to be lifted to an higher level. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Dutch Provinces in the border region use their own resources to support these INTERREG VA-projects. A part of the innovation costs are financed by the program’s companies themselves. Next to this, the EU makes a large contribution through INTERREG’s budget.

The provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy have a keen interest in innovation and in the collaboration with our neighbour country Germany, especially in the high-tech sectors and key technology sectors such as nano technology, ICT and materials technology. This is why Oost NL and Business Cluster Semiconductors (nowadays Holland Semiconductors) developed the ROCKET project and have formed a partnership of German and Dutch peer development agencies for its realisation: NMWP.NRW in North Rhine-Westphalia, Innos-Sperlich in Lower Saxony, Novel-T in Overijssel and Holland Semiconductors in Gelderland. Oost NL was the consortium’s leader and received a contribution for this from the INTERREG VA-program Germany-the Netherlands.



The EURADA presents the EURADA-awards at its yearly innovation contest. The contest helps EURADA to put its members’ excellent actions in the spotlight, and challenges its members to follow their example. Oost NL was awarded during the 2015 contest also. This year the agency won again. For more information:


Download results ROCKET:


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