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24 May 2023

German-Dutch Innovation Strategy

The Eastern Netherlands and North Westphalia regions are intensifying their collaboration to accelerate innovation for a sustainable future. The focus is on advanced manufacturing & robotics, energy, medtech and circular economy. The numerous institutions that are committed to stronger German-Dutch cooperation decided on a corresponding cross-border strategy yesterday evening (23 May) in Münster.

The strategy complements and specifies the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2021. The IHK Nord Westfalen, TwenteBoard and Oost NL underline their “common mission to support the regional economy and business world”. The cities of Münster and Enschede as well as Münsterland e.V., the WTC Twente and the EUREGIO also support the declaration of intent and the cross-border strategy. In order to implement this successfully and quickly, the good cooperation between business and universities will be further intensified. The triple helix format has already proven itself several times at this point.

In 2021, the IHK Nord Westfalen, Twente Board and Oost NL together with four supporting partners (City of Enschede, City of Münster, EUREGIO and Münster Chamber of Crafts) signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cross-border cooperation. From the perspective of the Euroregional economy and for companies, cooperation across national borders is not yet a given. In order to further advance this collaboration, the partners developed a joint strategy.

In this MoU strategy, the partners have described their long-term ambitions, goals for the next two to three years and specific activities for the coming year. IHK Managing Director 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.”

In the cross-border strategy, all MoU partners have agreed on four strategic topics: Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics, Energy, Medtech and Circular Economy. For each topic, the cross-border ambition is linked to national agendas in Germany and the Netherlands as well as relevant European programs. Wendy de Jong, CEO Oost NL: “The Eastern Netherlands and the North Westphalia IHK district are both strong in battery technology, the digital industry and medical health. We are developing cross-border storylines on these topics.”

In addition, the parties are committed to the areas of talent, infrastructure, internationalization and (political) communication towards national and European stakeholders. “With these joint efforts, we aim for further growth and will further develop the regions with innovation and sustainable solutions,” says De Jong.

The collaboration has evolved significantly since the MoU was signed in 2021. Victor Jan Leurs, Director of Twente Board: “Through the regular exchange between the IHK Nord Westfalen, the Twente Board, Oost NL and the supporting partners, ideas could be developed together and put into practice in order to promote the economic development of the shared region and the companies to move forward.” This led, for example, to the joint implementation of the annual Digital Summit Euregio in 2021, 2022 and 2023 as well as the innovation and business mission to Silicon Valley, the Smart Factory Tour, the Battery Research Day and the German-Dutch economic dialogue in Münster in 2022. Furthermore Meetings between Dutch and German MedTech, startup and hydrogen communities/clusters were organized. Leurs: “With Münsterland e.V. and WTC Twente as additional supporting partners of the MoU, our cooperation is even stronger in order to coordinate economic activities in our regions and increase the global competitiveness of our companies.”