Operational Programme 'North Netherlands'

Programme under the Regional Competitiveness and Employment objective, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)


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On 27 July 2007, the European Commission approved a Regional Operational Programme for "North Netherlands" for the period 2007-2013. The Operational Programme falls within the framework laid out for the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective and has a total budget of around €373 million. Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €169 million, which represents approximately 8.9% of the total EU investment earmarked for The Netherlands under the Cohesion Policy for 2007-2013.

1. Purpose and aim of the programme

The programme covers the provinces of Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen. The region represents some 25% of the country's surface but only some 10% of the population. The region's GDP per capita is slightly above the EU average although some 20% below the country average.

The core objective of the programme is to transition the North-Netherlands economy to a knowledge economy, whereby the development and implementation of innovation and technology is matched with a strengthening of the spatial qualities both in cities and in the countryside. This ambition is translated into 8 more specific objectives for which a set of indicators with quantified targets has been developed.

2. Expected impact of the investment

An important element in the region's broader strategy is the 'northern development axis', a concept directed towards reinforcing and connecting the economic structures of the northern region, and establishing a corridor that links the region to the economic centres in west-Netherlands with those of northern Germany and Scandinavia.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme is structured according to the following priorities:

Priority 1: Knowledge Economy, entrepreneurship and innovation [approximately 49.2% of total funding]

This priority aims to strengthen the region's innovative capacity; enhancing the knowledge in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME); stimulate entrepreneurship; and reinforce the labour market structure.

Priority 2: Attractive regions [approximately 23.5% of total funding]

This priority supports the maintenance and the further improvement of an attractive countryside; enhancing accessibility and mobility; and the enhancement of business locations. The actions will be concentrated around the economic core zones and urban networks.

Priority 3: The urban dimension [approximately 23.5% of total funding]

Under this priority, the programme addresses urban issues in 4 cities (Groningen, Leeuwarden, Assen, Emmen). This will include the qualitative upgrading of facilities and services in cities and locations for knowledge-oriented business.

Priority 4: Technical assistance [approximately 3.8% of total funding]

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

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'North Netherlands'

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
Knowledge economy, entrepreneurship, innovation 94 864 000 94 864 000 189 728 000
Attractive regions 33 880 000 50 820 000 84 700 000
The urban dimension 33 880 000 50 820 000 84 700 000
Technical assistance 6 776 000 6 776 000 13 552 000
Total 169 400 000 203 280 000 372 680 000