Operational Programme 'West Netherlands'

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


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On 13 August 2007, the European Commission approved a Regional Operational Programme for West Netherlands for the period 2007-13. The Programme falls within the framework laid out for the Regional Competitiveness and Employment Objective and has a total budget of around €771 million. Community funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) amounts to some €311 million, which represents approximately 16.3% of the total EU investment earmarked for the Netherlands under the Cohesion Policy for 2007-13.

1. Aim and purpose of the programme

The ambition of the region is to rank in the top five metropolitan regions in Europe in terms of Gross Regional Product (GRP) per capita; presently it ranks 12th. This requires most importantly better cooperation between the different entities and a common strategy and approach. The Operational Programme is expected to make an important contribution towards achieving this goal.

Key priorities of the Operational Programme include:

  • Increasing innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Increasing the attractiveness of the region;
  • Investing in the socio-economic attractiveness of the four big cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht).

The Programme covers the provinces of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland, a region that represents about 25% of the country's surface area but nearly half of the population. About one-third of the funding available from the ERDF will be earmarked for the four big cities, which will each receive a global grant. The Programme will focus on a limited number of key areas, for example, it will not cover the main infrastructure or actions aimed at tackling congestion.

2. Expected impact of investments

The Operational Programme is expected to:

  • create 6880 jobs;
  • create100 cooperation initiatives between research and knowledge institutions and business;
  • support 88 small and medium sized enterprises;
  • support 268 start-ups (< 5 years);
  • modernise 88 ha of industrial estate and 146 ha of industrial premises.

3. Priorities

The Operational Programme for the West of the Netherlands is structured along the following priorities:

Priority 1: Knowledge Economy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation [approximately 47.9% of total funding]

The priority aims to strengthen clusters for knowledge development, transfer and application, stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation in small enterprises, and stimulate technological innovations for sustainable production.

Priority 2: Attractive Regions [approximately 17.4% of total funding]

This priority is aimed at boosting economic activity whilst preserving the quality of the environment and nature. It should help to expand and improve the quality of "greenery" and "water" in and around cities. The priority is targeted predominantly at urban networks and core economic areas; some 15% will be used in other (more rural) areas.

Priority 3: The Urban Dimension [approximately 31.5% of total funding]

Under this priority, the Programme aims to make the main cities more attractive for businesses, in addition to improving the general quality of life and strengthening the local economy through more effective use of the labour potential.

Priority 4: Technical Assistance [approximately 3.2% of total funding]

Technical assistance will be provided for implementing the Programme. Financial support under this priority axis covers administration, monitoring and control of the Operational Programme.

Financial and Technical information

Operational Programme 'West 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 and Innovation 147 735 000 177 282 000 369 337 000
Attractive Regions 53 680 000 72 468 000 134 200 000
The Urban Dimension 96 761 000 130 628 000 241 903 000
Technical Assistance 12 424 000 12 424 000 24 848 000
Total 310 600 000 392 802 000 770 288 000