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European regions East Netherlands and North Westphalia present cross-border strategy to European partners



Industrie- und Handelskammer Nord Westfalen, Oost NL and Twente Board visited Brussels on Wednesday, September 6. The purpose of this visit was to present the joint cross-border strategy (cross-border strategy) to DG Research & Innovation and a number of European networks. A delegation consisting of governments, entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions (triple-helix) spoke with them about the possibilities of achieving sustainable cross-border cooperation.

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In May 2023, the cooperation between the East Netherlands and Nord Westphalia was intensified to strengthen the regional economy, harness the innovation ecosystem for the European missions and better utilize the strength of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). “To give our cooperation the next boost, we held consultations with European partners in Brussels. At the House of the Dutch Provinces, we spoke with representatives of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia Eurocities, ERRIN, EUREGIO and the Association of European Border Regions,” IHK Chief Executive Dr. Fritz Jaeckel said. “We were able to make it clear that we are investing in cooperation on our own, but that support from Europe is needed to take the next step.”

Theo Föllings, Director Innovation at Oost NL: “From the East Netherlands we have been working intensively for years with our partners in the Twente region and in Gelderland and Overijssel to get relevant economic incentive programs off the ground such as Medtech Twente, Integrated Photonics & Chip Design, Digital Economy and also Smart Energy & Batteries. In the themes of Smart Energy, Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics, Medical Technology and Circular Economy, we are also working intensively with Nord Westphalia to support innovative entrepreneurs in both regions in these themes.”

In recent years the IHK, Twente Board and Oost NL have successfully made good joint use of funds from INTERREG. This is where projects, from the demand of SMEs, such as Digipro, Rocket and many others, have been successfully established. In four years we helped 360 entrepreneurs in the Dutch-German border region with these projects. This led to more than 120 innovations. The content of the meeting focused on the topic of smart energy & batteries. We remain committed to building a strong economy and a sustainable future together with Europe on the basis of our joint strategy. Sustainable among other things in the field of smart energy & batteries. To this end, IHK, the Twente Board and Oost NL are also keen to work together to possibly once again successfully appeal to INTERREG and other European funds to enable SMEs to develop smart energy systems & batteries.

To accelerate cross-border cooperation, structural support from Europe would be very welcome. Victor-Jan Leurs, director at Twente Board: “Within the Twente Board we put European ideals into practice, by joining forces between government, education and entrepreneurs, across the immediate border. By bringing knowledge and companies together in sustainable cross-border clusters, we are building a double, triple-helix strategy for our regions. This is valuable for the Netherlands and Germany, but also offers opportunities for Europe. For example, by contributing to value chains that are less dependent on countries such as China or Russia. Let’s start seeing the national border as a connection, no longer as a barrier”.

We look back on a successful day with valuable discussions, in which the European partners received the presentation of the “cross-border strategy” with interest and offered their help to achieve sustainable cross-border clusters. This is a good starting point to further strengthen our cooperation with our European partners.