Europe invests €1 billion in Zuid-Holland

From 2007 until 2013, knowledge institutions, businesses and authorities in Zuid-Holland received €1 billion in European subsidies for research, development and infrastructure. Approximately half was spent on university research programmes. During Brussels’ current financial period, all parties in Zuid-Holland together have already received €250 million in European subsidies since 2014.

That is clear from an analysis of the 'landing’ of European funds in this region since 2007, commissioned by the Province of Zuid-Holland. Europe is one of the key factors when finalizing 'business cases' of major regional investment projects. That is why the Province conducted a comprehensive analysis of European spending over the past few years. This analysis yielded lessons on how to improve this score even more over the coming years.

Concentration urban area

In the previous European financial period from 2007 until 2013, over €1 billion of European funds landed at over 2100 projects in Zuid-Holland. The Zuid-Holland universities and medical centres, TNO Zuid-Holland and the Port of Rotterdam are large players - in Europe, too - and receive a substantial part of the resources. This leads to a concentration of EU funds around the cities of Delft, The Hague, Leiden and Rotterdam.

Main sources were European research programmes (FP7 and Horizon2020) and area-based subsidies from the European Regional Development Fund. The TEN-T programme, intended for investment in trans-European infrastructure, accounts for a substantial share of the total as well.

There is a clear trend in Europe to increasingly encourage developments through loans and equity participation, through the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB financed approximately €2.5 billion in Zuid-Holland during the 2007 to 2016 period. An important part of that money was won by the Port of Rotterdam. Added to the European Commission subsidies, Europe, with nearly €4 billion, proves to invest heavily in the Zuid-Holland region.

'Confirmation of the region’s strength

Regional Minister Rogier van der Sande, the initiator of the European funds analysis, is happy with the outcome. "Europe allocates resources to research on the basis of excellence. The high score of our knowledge institutions and SMEs and the wide range of clusters scoring high confirm the innovative strength of our region."

Adri Bom-Lemstra (Economic Affairs) is delighted with the results as well: "It is a huge amount and again shows the importance of Brussels for this region. The most important lesson, I believe, is that the high score is due to the sum of many individual applicants. By joining forces, we can acquire even more resources from Europe. That is exactly what we intend to continue to do."

From the total €4 billion, Europe, besides to research projects, contributed to many regional infrastructure projects and investments in our campuses. Contributions were made to demonstration projects linked to European challenges such as healthy ageing, food safety, climate and energy. Van der Sande: "It is not just about the money, but also about the knowledge we acquire to reach a "smarter, cleaner and stronger' Zuid-Holland. With solutions for European water problems, we put the region on the map as a major player as well."

It is the first time that the distribution of European funds in the region has been mapped in an integrated manner. This results in a clear picture of the extent and to which themes Europe can contribute to Zuid-Holland investments.