About the Region

  • The south-west of the Netherlands, as a country having a National Bioeconomy Strategy, has adopted a concrete implementation plan including specific structures such as the Circular Biobased Delta (CBBD): Green Chemistry; Chemical Recycling, the Centre of Expertise of Biobased Economy (CoE BBE): Bio-based construction and products, and Marine bio-based specialities.
  • Within these structures, the main objectives are to widen from “bio-based chemistry” to “green” chemistry, to increase bio-based economy and less Bioeconomy.
  • To decarbonization, electrification of the industry and collaboration & connection of educational actors of different education types and levels. Particularly in the Education domain, there is a well-established governance, based on existing policies/strategic documents in (adult) education on (circular) Bioeconomy, or on the wider topic of sustainability.
About the Region Image

Thematic Orientation

Existing Sub-Sectors  [a few organisations are listed, these are no sub-sectors; the subsectors are mentioned behind the organisations]

  • Circular Biobased Delta (CBBD): Green Chemistry (projects in the networks of Circuroad, focussing on replacing bitumen with biobased raw materials; Biorizon, focussing on bio-aromates; Sugar Delta, focussing on new applications of sugar and other carbohydrates); Chemical Recycling (network with relevant industrial partners)
  • Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE): biobased construction, biobased building blocks & products, marine biobased specialities (algae etc.), biobased resources & energy, biobased transitions, smart energy
  • Smart Delta Resources (SDR, a network of many large energy and resource-intensive companies in the Flemish-Dutch Schelde-Delta region): green hydrogen, carbon capture and storage (CCS).
  • Green Chemistry Campus: hotspot where innovative biobased companies, governments and knowledge institutes cooperate. There are facilities like laboratories and offices.

Key Trends Influencing Innovation

  • The scope is widening from “biobased chemistry” to “green” chemistry (i.e. circular, biobased, and sustainable chemistry) and in 2023 to plant-based. Less explicit focus on bio-based, and more on circular.
  • More bio-based economy, less bioeconomy.
  • Decarbonisation, electrification of the industry.
  • Collaboration & connection of educational actors of different education types and levels (especially vocational and higher education, etc.).

Expected Sub-Sectors / Value Chains

  • Circular by design.
  • Valorisation of residues and waste.
  • Cascading (See SER document Bioeconomy in the Netherlands 2030 Vision on biomass).
  • Biomass stocks must be optimised (cascading)
  • Short-term: biomass is vital to realise the objectives of the (Dutch) Energy Agreement and the climate policy
  • Long-term: only use biomass for non-food and feed sectors when other renewable alternatives are scarcely available (Chemicals and materials; Aviation and shipping; Heavy long-distance road transport; High-temperature industrial heating)

Opportunities for advancement (Growth, Career, Social etc.)

  1. Provinces North Brabant and Zeeland support the transition towards a biobased economy. Both provinces are pushing entrepreneurs towards sustainability (valorisation of residues and waste).
  2. Support to start-up companies, and lifelong learning: Educational institutes and the provinces of North Brabant and Zeeland stimulate to deploy knowledge to address regional issues. Knowledge Pact for Higher Education in Brabant (Kennispact HO Brabant) to boost entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, and knowledge development. The same issues are key for vocational education, as agreed in the MBO-Kennispact.
  3. Increasing focus and catching up on practice oriented research (in Dutch: praktijkgericht onderzoek).

Governance, Education levels & Skills

Governance structure in adult education on Bioeconomy, or on the wider topic of sustainability (Higher Education, Vocational Training etc.)

  • For the VET governance structure in general, please see: Cedefop (2023). Inventory of lifelong guidance systems and practices – Netherlands 2023 update
  • Practice-oriented education is offered by universities of applied sciences.
  • Research-oriented education is traditionally offered by research universities.
  • Centres of Expertise play an important role in the practice-oriented research of universities of applied sciences.
  • Online Education
    • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC)
    • Small Private Online Course (SPOC)
  • For commercial courses, Avans also started a separate organisation, Avans+. Avans+ organises courses and masterclasses for working people.

Organization of Adult and Lifelong Learning

Selected education and training grants and support schemes:

  • Learning and development incentive scheme (Stimuleringsregeling leren en ontwikkelen (SLIM-regeling) 
  • Lifelong learning credits: many courses are registered as Edubadges on a national website (Edubadges).
  • The Netherlands Keeps Learning (Nederland Leert Door), free (online) training courses. In line with this national initiative: The province of Brabant hosts a platform (Brabant Leert, Met Brabant Leert kom je verder | Blijf je ontwikkelen; juist nu!) on which employees can register and follow (short) programs for free to develop themselves.
  • STAP budget for training and development
  • Expedition Scheme for Sustainable Employability (Duurzame Inzetbaarheid – DI) and Lifelong Development (Leven Lang Ontwikkelen – LLO)

Available Research on Bioeconomy Education

At the moment of publication, no dedicated research has been conducted for the purpose of the BioGiv.Net project.

Main Training, Retraining or Lifelong Learning on Sustainability

  • At VET-level:
    • Process Engineer (Curio and Scalda)
    • Chemistry (Curio and Scalda) 
  • At HBO-level:
    • Biobased Technology and Chemistry (Avans)
    • Chemistry (Avans and Hogeschool Zeeland)
    • Chemical Technology (Avans)
  • For the green sector in the region, the most relevant education suppliers are: Agricultural studies (e.g., food and agribusiness) at HAS University of Applied Sciences (HAS Green Academy)

Available Research on Bioeconomy skills needed

Flemish-Dutch INTERREG project Grenzeloos Biobased Onderwijs (GBO), or in English: Borderless Biobased Education, 

  • In the book of results, GBO project activities and results (research findings, course modules, interviews, videos, MOOCs, and an online platform) are briefly introduced
  • GBO: Market survey on needed competencies 
  • GBO developed the European Biobased Knowledge Network (EBKN)

Linking Art & Bioeconomy Education

The Dutch BioGov.Net team identified 8 case studies of bioeconomy education in which art concepts are applied:

  • Art as a stimulus of the needed skills
    • MU Hybrid Art House
    • BlueCity
  • Art addressing learning styles
    • Design Thinking is a way of working within education and other initiatives. Some courses at Avans are fully set up around this innovative way of realizing innovative products.
  • Inspirational case studies from art to bioeconomy education
    • Bio-based Bridge, TUe
    • LandArtBrabant (LAB), the successor of Land Art Diessen
    • BioArt Laboratories
  • Injecting the bioeconomy in design, art, architecture, etc. professions
    • Bio-based Pop-up and Grow Store, Bergen op Zoom 
    • The Growing Pavilion
    • Exploded View Beyond Building

Marginal Groups

Working with which marginalised, disadvantaged, minority groups is prioritised?

Residents included in the National Target Group Register re. “Banenafspraak”

Newcomers, status holders or people who do not speak Dutch. 

Relevant jobs and/or opportunities for inclusion of marginal groups

Different types of work that match the competencies, experiences, and skills of the target groups. It is essential that guidance can be offered structurally or temporarily, and that any performance is compensated.

Main needs of individuals of marginalised groups integrating them into bioeconomy

  • Worthy existence.
  • Social participation is to a large extent associated with labour participation. 
  • Developing own income, autonomy and self-esteem

Existing educational/development activities for marginalised groups for integration into bioeconomy activities

  • Employer Service Point
  • Regional mobility team
  • Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), Municipality
  • Social development companies
  • People development companies
  • Employers, social organisations, and foundations

SWOT Analysis


  • Wide spectrum of sectors involved
  • Competitiveness based on innovation
  • Increase of employment / available job positions
  • Existing National plan for achieving the goals
  • Existing Educational Strategies – Defined policies and a well-structured Governance
  • Existence of a broad spectrum of high-quality initiatives and organisations in the fields of Life-Long learning initiatives, Vocational training, mass information, etc
  • Substantial overlapping and cooperation between the Bioeconomy Education Institutions and Art related institutions


  • Not fully valorized resources and products
  • Bioeconomy is not fully aligned with the socioeconomic priorities of the country
  • There is a National Strategy on Bioeconomy but there are no data on implementation levels of this strategy
  • Fragmentation of activities and priorities
  • Lack of an organizational umbrella
  • No dedicated research on Bioeconomy Education available


  • Building strategic alliances
  • Further exploitation of the developed digital background
  • Making the Netherlands a recognized centre of bioeconomy/biobased development in Europe
  • Benefitting from the existing educational background
  • Organized structures for advancing opportunities on social educational and career levels


  • Potential decrease of biobased resources by 2050 due to climate impacts
  • National policies and subsidy programs favour established industries hampering the required transition
  • Fragmentation and the lack of putting strategy into action remains
  • Lack of a concrete National plan aiming to identify and then to integrate the marginalized groups

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