Programme Thematic Objectives
Thanks to the strong knowledge economy, the area can compete with the rest of the world. Productivity in Flanders and the South Netherlands is maintained or increased through innovation.
The programme focuses on domains in which both regions specialise smartly and have a strong foundation. Stimulating cooperation in the field of innovation creates cross-border added value because companies can learn from each other and forge new partnerships (across the border). Economies of scale are created by realising joint research infrastructure and jointly stimulating technology transfer. The sustainable and sensible strengthening of the knowledge economy via Interreg therefore has additional advantages over such policies in national frameworks.
We give a further focus on projects with social added value. In this way, the cooperation can bring Europe closer to the citizen and promote support for further European and Flemish-Dutch integration.
RSO 1.1 Developing and enhancing research and innovation capacities and the uptake of advanced technologies
Innovative and smart economic transformation is only possible if investments are made in training. The (often technologically oriented) sectors in which the border region is strongest and can realise growth are often the same sectors where shortages arise. Companies in these sectors are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified workers. In this way, to stimulate innovation and transformation, it must be ensured that the necessary workforce remains available, and that these competencies are acquired that are necessary to realise innovation and ultimately have those innovative products produced in the region.
Here the programme focuses on domains in which both regions specialise smartly. After all, in these domains there is often a similar demand from the business community for training or methods for competence development, and cross-border cooperation can therefore yield (scale and knowledge) benefits.
Special attention will be given to (Training) projects that have social added value and are aimed at social challenges. In this way, cross-border cooperation can also bring Europe closer to its citizens and promote support for future integration.
RSO 1.4 Developing skills for smart specialisation, industrial transition and entrepreneurship
In both parts of the border area, a massive roll-out of energy-efficient techniques is required.
Cooperation in this domain is therefore logical; cross-border added value is created by stimulating cooperation in the field of innovation and by stimulating the demonstration of proven techniques or processes across the border. After all, companies, governments, knowledge institutions and intermediary organisations can learn from each other and forge new partnerships across the border, thus exploiting economies of scale.
The programme give special attention on the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises. Precisely because the international orientation of SMEs is often still limited, the potential profit of stimulating cross-border cooperation is great here.
RSO 2.1 Energy efficiency
RSO 2.2 Renewable energy
In both parts of the border area, a massive roll-out of renewable (and zero-emission) energy is needed.
Cooperation in this domain is therefore logical; cross-border added value is created by stimulating cooperation in the field of innovation and by stimulating the demonstration of proven techniques or processes across the border. After all, companies can learn from each other and forge new partnerships across the border, thus exploiting economies of scale.
The programme places its focus on involving of small and medium-sized enterprises. Precisely because the international orientation of SMEs is often still limited, the potential profit of stimulating cross-border cooperation is great here.
RSO 2.4 Promoting climate change adaptation and disaster risk prevention and resilience, taking into account eco-system based approaches
The border region has a relatively high vulnerability to the consequences of climate change, especially the coastal provinces.
The challenges in the field of climate adaptation are large and similar and knowledge has already been built up in both countries in this domain. This means that cross-border cooperation is essential to deal with the consequences of climate change and the potential benefits of cross-border cooperation are great. Much knowledge still needs to be built up. Investments are also needed in the border area, because nature simply does not respect borders.
The programme focuses here on adaptation, risk prevention and disaster resilience, related to climate change. The programme does provide scope for tackling acute crises that could arise during programme implementation. This may concern, for example, pandemic-related risk prevention and disaster resilience in the healthcare domain.
RSO 2.6 Circular economy
An OECD study shows that more than half of greenhouse gas emissions are related to the production of goods and fuels, the transport of goods, food production and storage and waste processing. This means that a circular economy is also a low-emission economy. In both parts of the border area, a massive shift in that direction is therefore needed.
Cooperation in the field of the circular economy is therefore logical; cross-border added value is created by stimulating cooperation in the field of innovation in particular and by stimulating the demonstration of proven techniques, methods or processes across the border. After all, companies, governments and intermediary organisations can learn from each other and forge new partnerships across the border, thus exploiting economies of scale.
The programme focuses here on the involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises. Precisely because the international orientation of SMEs is often still limited, the potential profit of stimulating cross-border cooperation is great here.
RSO 2.7 Biodiversity and green infrastructure
Climate change and further fragmentation as a result of spatial pressure puts nature reserves, biodiversity, ecosystem services and the landscape in the border region on the defensive. Flanders and the South of the Netherlands pursue similar policies for nature conservation or development, and the attention and reinforcement of spatial-ecological structure. Thanks to cross-border cooperation, this policy can also take shape in the border area and across the border. Conservation and reinforcement of nature and natural landscapes also has an added value in terms of social and economic (recreation, business climate) level, and can promote cross-border recreation and interaction. Interreg Vlaanderen - Nederland therefore sees cross-border cooperation in the field of nature conservation and development as useful, or even essential for cross-border nature areas, and therefore wants to select this specific objective as an important policy, flanking and efforts for the benefit of the environment, economy and society.
In Flanders and the South of the Netherlands, there are more and more people falling between two stools. These are mainly the slightly older employees or otherwise job seekers who do not have 21st century skills. Educational institutions, employers, labour market institutions and (semi-) governments all play a role in tackling the mismatch between labour supply and demand. Cooperation between these organisations can lead to learning effects.
Sometimes cross-border labour can be the key to matching supply and demand on the labour market - where a labour shortage on one side of the border can be met by a surplus on the other side of the border.
Cross-border work can also promote cross-border interaction and thus contribute to eliminating the negative effects of the border on the local economy.
RSO 4.1 Enhancing the effectiveness and inclusiveness of labour markets and access to quality employment through developing social infrastructure and promoting social economy
RSO 4.2 Improving equal access education, training and lifelong
The slightly older employees and job seekers who do not have 21st century skills are the main targeted final beneficiaries for this objective. Schools or training providers must better align their offerings with the changing demand from the business community. That demand from the business community is often the same, on both sides of the border. Providers of education and training can therefore develop joint curricula, certainly also because there is no language difference. In this way economies of scale can be exploited. Interreg Vlaanderen - Nederland wants to focus on the implementation of joint measures to improve the efficiency of the labour market and access to high-quality employment provide cross-border added value.
RSO 4.6 Enhancing the role of culture and sustainable tourism
This specific objective foresees strengthening the role of culture and tourism in economic development, social inclusion and social innovation. Tourism is an important sector in our border region. However, tourism and recreation serve not only the economic growth or to maintain a pleasant living and business climate, but also to respond to ecological and social challenges. The importance of nearby opportunities, also across the border, for sustainable tourism, recreation, leisure activities and 'experience' came to the fore during the corona crisis.
Tourism and recreation have a strong spatial impact, which makes a holistic approach extremely important.
Improving and making the tourism offer more sustainable also ensures direct visibility of citizen involvement in Europe. It also increases the chances of bringing border residents in contact with each other.
With this objective, the programme seeks to eliminate border obstacles and promoting cross-border contacts and administrative cooperation.
Regulatory differences, information gaps and other barriers create “border obstacles” to economic and social interaction across borders. As a result, residents and organisations in the border region are disadvantaged compared to counterparts in the centres of each country. Removing or 'softening' border-related obstacles to interaction also stimulates opportunities for cooperation in other domains.
In the immediate border-regions, there is insufficient integrated and structural administrative cooperation, despite the fact that such cooperation can in certain cases clearly yield concrete cross-border added value and economies of scale: namely, if the cooperation exceeds the level of exchange and results in actual policy coordination and joint investments that promote cross-border social interaction. Joint strategy development with a view to concrete, tangible results for border residents certainly deserves attention.
There are also opportunities for an increase of day-to-day contacts between border residents, without this being a goal in itself of the programme. Incentives from Interreg offer sustainable added value where contacts have a clear purpose in the area to eliminate or alleviate administrative obstacles at the border, or where economies of scale arise as a result.
RSO 6.1 Enhance the institutional capacity of public authorities
See the list of all projects at
The sixth Interreg Flanders-Netherlands subsidy programme has been approved by the European Commission. This provides an important stimulus for further Flemish-Dutch cooperation.
The European Commission has approved an impulse of approximately 200 million euros to stimulate Flemish-Dutch cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions, NGOs and governments, in the period up to 2027. With this, Europe is intensifying its efforts to break down the internal borders within the union, including in the Flemish-Dutch border region.
Please contact one of our project advisors. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and provide assistance in the search for suitable partners. In addition we launched a new e-Portal, so you can work on the submission of your project. You can already find the programme regulations (draft) on our website, as well as an application guideline and a concept format for your project application. We will also provide some online information moments to provide you with practical help.