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Want to build the biobased economy together with the Netherlands?  If you are looking for partners to help build the biobased economy, the Netherlands has lots to offer. The Dutch market for biobased innovations and applications is developing rapidly, notably in chemicals, agriculture & food, logistics and technology. We can help you meet potential partners.  

Please note: this is the only page in English. The rest of the website can be translated using Google translate by clicking on ‘Language > English’ at the top of the menu.

Added value of biobased economy

Within Europe, the biobased economy already generates an annual turnover of EUR 2,1 trillion and offers employment to 3,2 million people. The Netherlands also has an active biobased sector comprising some 900 businesses working on the development and implementation of biobased products and services in over 1200 projects.

The turnover of the biobased economy in the Netherlands has been estimated at €20 billion for 2013. The added value was earlier estimated at €2.6 to €3.0 billion and 45,000 full-time jobs.

Read more at: http://www.biobasedeconomy.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Monitoring-Biobased-Economy-NL-2015-Hoofdrapport-dd-8-3-2016-standaard.pdf

Active sectors

The biobased economy brings together many sectors that used to operate as entirely separate entities, such as agriculture & chemicals and paper & energy. Look here for a list of sectors that are actively engaged in the biobased economy: (link 2)

Top sectors

Chemicals is one sector within the Cabinet’s top sector approach that has adopted the biobased theme. This sector has created ‘a beacon on the horizon’ document. This document is the first step towards a joint business plan for the transition to a Dutch biobased economy. The plan provides for 6 top sectors – chemicals, agri & food, horticulture and propagation materials, logistics, energy and water – joining forces to develop and promote the Netherlands’ leading role in this transition.

See more at: http://topsectoren.nl/english

Green deals

The Netherlands has opted for green growth: economic growth that takes into account environment and sustainable development. Through its Green Deal approach, the Dutch Government has created space for innovative initiatives from society aimed at accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy.

The Green Deal approach in the Netherlands is an accessible way for companies, other stakeholder organisations, local and regional government and interest groups to work with Central Government on green growth and social issues. The aim is to remove barriers to help sustainable initiatives get off the ground and to accelerate this process where possible. The Green Deal approach forms part of the green growth policy and is a joint initiative by the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs (EZ), Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M) and the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK). The Green Deal approach is one element in a standard range of policy instruments. It is used to supplement existing instruments, such as legislation and regulation, market and financial incentives, and measures to stimulate innovation.

See more at: http://www.greendeals.nl/english

Regulatory scope

Innovative investments are essential to achieve green growth in such domains as climate, energy, water, biobased economy, construction, food, mobility and waste as a raw material (recycling). The Top Sectors are aiming for the greenest growth possible. Unfortunately, regulatory constraints sometimes impede these innovative investments. In the ‘Ruimte in Regels voor Groene Groei’ (R2G2) programme, the government and entrepreneurs are working together to create more regulatory scope for innovative investments in green growth.

See more at: http://www.ruimteinregels.nl/english-smart-regulation/

Active platforms in the BBE

  • The Biorenewables Business Platform is working on several important large business cases: read more. (link 3)
  • The BioBased Business Accelerator is mainly aimed at SMEs: read more.
  • The Agro-Paper-Chemicals-Energy platform is working on cross-sector business development: read more.
  • The Dutch Biorefinery Cluster is developing biorefinery-related business with diverse sectors: read more.

Dutch biobased innovations

Many sectors (ditto link 2) are engaged in biobased developments. Chemicals, agriculture and logistics are areas in which the Netherlands is particularly strong. Among other things, the Netherlands was the first country to open a pyrolysis plant which produces oil from wood chips and we are also leaders in seaweed experimentation and research. In another recent development, Dutch sewage sludge was found to contain sufficient alginate to meet the global demand for paper coating. In addition, 2015 saw the start of the construction of the Cosun Innovation Centre for research into applications for (residual) agricultural waste from e.g. potatoes and sugar beet. One specific focus is the manufacture of high-grade vegetable materials for chemical applications. The brand-new innovation centre will give an impulse to the knowledge-intensive cluster for the agriculture & food sector as well as the biobased economy.

Businesses are carrying out extensive research into innovations centring on new biobased technologies and products – both in public-private partnerships and in research programmes such as BE-Basic, CatchBio and BioBased Performance Materials: (link 4)


The government is encouraging businesses to pursue biobased innovation in diverse ways. Here is a list of the various instruments: read more.

– See more at: (ditto link 6)

Attractive market for foreign players

After years of research, development and innovation, many Dutch businesses are now looking to upsize, implement and market new products and services. Dutch universities and research institutes have built up a wealth of knowledge on the biobased economy. The Dutch government is also actively encouraging the biobased economy via its Top Sector Approach (link 5) and various instruments and schemes. (link 6)

All these developments and experiences make the Netherlands an attractive market for foreign parties to set up locations and work with Dutch partners.


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