The regions East Netherlands and North Westphalia are strengthening their collaboration to accelerate innovations for a sustainable future. Their focus is on Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, Energy, Medtech and the Circular Economy. A corresponding cross-border strategy was adopted yesterday evening (May 23) in Münster by the numerous institutions working for stronger German-Dutch cooperation. The North Westphalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Twente Board and Oost NL thus underline their “common mission to support the regional economy and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)”. The cities of Münster and Enschede as well as Münsterland e.V., WTC Twente and EUREGIO also support the declaration of intent and the cross-border strategy.
In 2021, IHK Nord Westfalen, TwenteBoard and Oost NL signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cross-border cooperation together with four supporting partners (City of Enschede, City of Münster, EUREGIO and Handwerkskammer Münster). From the point of view of the Euroregional economy and for companies, cooperation across borders is not yet common place. In order to further promote this cooperation, the partners therefore developed a common strategy.
In this MoU strategy, the partners described the long-term ambitions and goals for the next two to three years and concrete activities for the coming year. IHK Chief Executive Dr. Fritz Jaeckel explains: “In the coming years, we will work together on a structural, cross-border strategic agenda with the aim of strengthening our economic activities and increasing the global competitiveness of our companies.”
Cross-border strategic topics
Four strategic topics are formulated: Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, Energy, Medtech and Circular Economy. In every topic the cross-border ambition is linked to the national agendas in Germany and The Netherlands and to relevant European programs. Wendy de Jong, CEO Oost NL:
”Key focus of the cross border cooperation between the East Netherlands and North Westphalia is on our mutual success area’s of battery technology, digital industry and medical health. On these themes, we develop cross border action lines.” In addition, the parties are committed to the topics of Talent, Infrastructure and Internationalisation. “With joint efforts, we aim for further growth and development the regions with innovation towards sustainability,” says De Jong.
A strong, sustainable and competitive cross-border region
The collaboration has evolved significantly since the signing of the MoU in 2021. Victor Jan Leurs, Director Twente Board: “Often through the regular exchange between the North Westphalia Chamber of Commerce, the TwenteBoard, Oost NL and the supporting partners, ideas could be developed and put into action together to advance the economic development of the joint region and the companies. Ideas from and coordinate common activities aimed at the economic development of our business.” This led, for example, to the joint programming implementation of the annual Dutch German TechDigital Summit Euregio event in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as well as, the Innovation and Business Mission to Silicon Valley in 2022, the Smart Factory Tour in 2022, the Battery Research Day in 2022 and ther Dutch-German Business Dialogue in Münster in 2022.
In addition, and in meetings between Dutch and German MedTech, startup and hydrogen communities/clusters were organized. Leurs: “With Münsterland e.V. and WTC Twente as further supporting partners, our cooperation is even stronger to strengthen and coordinate the economic activities in our regions and increase the global competitiveness of our companies.”