Operational Programme 'Netherlands - Germany'

Programme under the European Territorial Cooperation Objective, co-funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 3 December 2007, the European Commission approved a Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme between the Netherlands and Germany for the period 2007-2013. The Programme involves providing Community support as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for the following regions along the Dutch-German border:

Achterhoek, Arnhem/Nijmegen, Delfzijl en omgeving, Midden Limburg, Noord Friesland, Noord Limburg, Noord Overijssel, Noordoost, Noord Brabant, Oost Groningen, Overig Groningen, Twente and Zuidoost Drenthe in the Netherlands;

Landkreis Aurich, Kreis Borken, Kreisfreie Stadt Emden, Landkreis Emsland, Landkreis Grafschaft Bentheim, Kreis Kleve, Kreisfreie Stadt Krefeld, Landkreis Leer, Kreisfreie Stadt Mönchengladbach, Kreis Steinfurt, Kreis Viersen and Kreis Wesel in Germany.

The areas Landkreis Ammerland, Landkreis Cloppenburg, Kreis Coesfeld, Kreisfreie Stadt Duisburg, Landkreis Friesland, Kreisfreie Stadt Münster, Landkreis Osnabrück, Kreisfreie Stadt Osnabrück, Rhein Kreis Neuss, Kreis Warendorf and Landkreis Wittmund in Germany and Flevoland, Noord Drenthe, Veluwe, Zuidwest Drenthe, Zuidoost Friesland, Zuidwest Gelderland as well as Zuidwest Overijssel in the Netherlands can participate in the projects as adjacent areas receiving a maximum of 20% of the ERDF funding allocated to the Programme.

The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective and has a total budget of around €294 million. Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund amounts to some €139 million, which represents approximately 1.6% of the total EU investment earmarked for the European Territorial Cooperation Objective under the Cohesion Policy 2007-2013.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The Programme focuses on different areas, such as "Business, Technology and Innovation", "Infrastructure and Environment" and "Social Integration" and aims to make necessary improvements and changes to benefit the programme areas.

Under the heading of “Business, Technology and Innovation" the Programme will examine the following topics:

  • Technology and knowledge transfer; and
  • Economic networks and industries.

Infrastructure facilities and the environmental conditions are important factors for the Programme area. While infrastructure, per se, offers the so-called "hard" location factor, the state of nature and landscape offer the "soft" factors. Accordingly, under the "Infrastructure and Environment" heading, the Programme will focus on both “infrastructural offers” as well as nature, landscape and the environment.

The final focus area is “Social Integration”, as the social life of the citizens in the border area is of particular importance, for example in the field of public health and consumer protection services, cross-border labour market situations as well as education and culture.

2. Expected impact of investments

As a result of the earlier INTERREG programs, participants on both sides of the border have extensive experience in the development and implementation of cross-border projects. In some cases, the programs have already removed “barriers” along the borders. For this reason, the objectives of the Germany-Netherlands INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme are to:

  • continue successful cooperation and thus to secure continuity; and
  • develop initiatives that provide the cross-border cooperation with new impulses.

Above all else, the Operational Programme strives toward ensuring that the German-Dutch programme area develops into an integrated European region, for which current frontiers no longer represent in any way a barrier to trade and social exchange. In this way, the area along the border should grow together and become a single, competitive region within Europe. The objective of INTERREG IVA is to achieve sustainable, future-oriented, overall development within the German-Dutch border area. Various economic, ecological and social criteria will play a role.

The Programme will also make use of so-called “Major Projects” that stretch across the whole (or at least across a large part of the) programme area. These strategic initiatives promise synergies and improvement in the quality of the projects within the overall programme region. The “Major Projects” should have not only an impact on the German-Dutch border area, but they should also generate added value of national importance.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured along the following priorities:

Priority 1: Business, technology and innovation [approximately 58.0% of total funding]

The aim of this priority is to improve the capacity for innovation. Economic cooperation and networking aims should also be further strengthened. Moreover, the qualification of employees play an important role, since their know-how and skills are important for the innovative capacity of firms in the programme area. The priority contains three fields of action:

  • Promoting technology and knowledge transfer between research institutes and the companies;
  • Promoting economic networks; as well as
  • Promoting cross-border cooperation of companies and promotion of qualifications to improve the innovation potential of companies.

Priority 2: Sustainable regional development [approximately 18.0% of total funding]

This priority deals with sustainable regional development. It contains three fields of actions:

  • Promoting renewable energy and the development of energy saving technologies;
  • Promoting cross border development of infrastructural possibilities; and
  • Promoting cross-border nature and landscape protection as well as environmental protection.

Priority 3: Integration and society [approximately 18.0% of total funding]

Health industry and consumer protection are central themes in the everyday lives for the citizens. The Programme has a third priority which addresses different issues under these headings. In health care, national borders are clearly visible due to the various national systems. In terms of consumer protection, one example of valuable cross-border cooperation could be mentioned – the control of animal diseases. In this priority attention will also be paid to improving education and training opportunities for cross border employees.

Priority 4: Technical assistance [approximately 6.0% of total funding]

There is also provision for technical assistance to implement the Programme. Financial support is available also to cover administration, monitoring, evaluation and control.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'Netherlands - Germany'

Intervention Type

Operational Programme

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Number of decision


Final approval date


Breakdown of finances by priority axis

Priority Axis EU Investment National Public Contribution Total Public Contribution
Business, technology and innovation 80 419 235 79 420 927 159 840 162
Sustainable regional development 24 957 694 24 957 694 49 915 388
Integration and society 24 957 694 23 959 386 48 917 080
Technical Assistance 8 319 230 9 317 538 17 636 768
Total 138 653 853 137 655 545 276 309 398