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(19 - 12 - 2013)


On 19 December, Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn is meeting the King's Commissioner for the Dutch province of Zeeland Han Polman to discuss how the province can best tailor the Cohesion Policy in 2014-20 to its economic development needs with a particular focus on the innovation in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.

With 381,000 inhabitants, Zeeland is a relatively sparsely populated Dutch province. With 3.1%, the region has one of the lowest European unemployment rates. The economic sectors contributing mostly to employment are small –and medium service enterprises, healthcare, the seaports in Vlissingen and Terneuzen and agriculture and fisheries. Despite the good statistics, Zeeland also faces challenges to a large extent linked to its declining and ageing population.


What are the regions priorities and how does EU regional policy contribute?

For 2007-2013, Zeeland takes part, together with the North Brabant and the Limburg provinces, in the ERDF Operational Programme South Netherlands which has an EU contribution of EUR 186 Mio.

EU funding in Zeeland contributes to the implementation of projects in the fields of open innovation systems, cross-cluster cooperation, the deployment of low-carbon technologies and bio based economy. It targets the Energy, Agro&Food and Chemical clusters, either as individual clusters or with cross-cluster approaches.

Zeeland also contributes intensively to the establishment of cross-border and cross-sectorial cooperation networks, especially with its Belgian neighbouring region Flanders in the framework of the cross-border cooperation programme Interreg IV Flanders-The Netherlands.


Project examples

Bio Base Europe: EU contribution 6.000.000

Bio Base Europe, Europe’s first open innovation and education center for the biobased economy, consists of the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant and the Bio Base Europe Training Center. Flanders and Zeeland have joined forces to build state-of-the-art research and training facilities to speed up the economic growth, innovation capacity, and sustainable development of our society.

Aquavlan: EU contribution EUR 2.255.829

This project aims to stimulate knowledge on aquaculture in the Zeelandic-Flemish region. Different partners, companies and knowledge institutes cooperate to increase practical know how about aquaculture. A crucial element in this cooperation is the knowledge transfer between scientists and the private sector.

C-Energy : EU contribution EUR 546.252

The practical aim of this project was to contribute to the developing and delivering sustainable energy to Zeeland through tidal. This demo-project increased the knowledge on the feasibility and the practical challenges of making Zeeland a tidal energy hotspot.

Incubator Zeeland – Dok 41: EU contribution EUR 648.354

DOK41 facilitates, advises and supports knowledge-intensive, technology-driven start-up companies from Zeeland. The business incubator offers premises and services which facilitate networking between companies and with knowledge institutions. The start-up companies are offered a context in which they can accept larger orders and assignments.


More information:

Huis van de Nederlandse Provincies

Operational Programme South Netherlands

Province of Zeeland