Groningen en Leeuwarden in top 5 innoverende steden in Noordzee-regio

Groningen en Leeuwarden staan in de top 5 van steden met de meeste innovatiekracht binnen het North Sea Region Programme, een Europees programma om innovatie in de landen rond de Noordzee te stimuleren. In een inventarisatie van het aantal projectpartners in 300 steden in de regio, brachten ook de andere Noordelijke steden het er goed vanaf.

The North Sea Region Programme supports place-based, transnational approaches to improving the future and creating vibrant communities in our region. Nearly 900 organisations are currently engaged in North Sea Region projects, but exactly where are they all located and how are they interconnected?

To find out, we mapped all current North Sea Region partnerships and found some interesting patterns. Note: The results reflect engagement levels, not budgets.

Project city hubs

The top five cities for North Sea Region Programme engagement are revealed below. For this purpose, we ranked cities according to the number of project beneficiaries they host (an organisation engaged in two projects counts twice).

  1. Groningen
  2. Gothenborg
  3. Gent
  4. Hamburg
  5. Leeuwarden

You might have expected to find the five largest cities in the region in this list. As it turns out, it covers the full range from very large to small cities, demonstrating that North Sea Region Programme funding is accessible to organisations everywhere in the region interested in transnational cooperation.

In fact, project beneficiaries are located in over 300 cities spread out across the region, with the largest number found in the UK. This level of involvement across the entire region helps reduce regional disparities in line with the EU Cohesion Policy.

Priority hotspots

We also took a closer look at the four specific Programme priorities. In the maps below, the size of each dot indicates the number of links to partners elsewhere in the region. The maps show that project partnerships are linking multiple places across the entire region – and each priority has its own geographic strongholds.


Projects in Priority 1 support regional smart specialisation strategies and often focus on building the innovation capacity of the public sector and small and medium sized enterprises.

The Dutch city of Groningen is clearly a major networking hub for regional innovation funded by the North Sea Region Programme. Groningen is followed by Flemish Kortrijk, Danish Aalborg and Aarhus, Swedish Malmö, and Dutch Leeuwarden.


Projects in this priority support the green energy transition, resource efficiency and the circular economy. They do this within different business sectors and often in private-public partnerships.

Danish Odense is the largest priority 2 hub, while Swedish Gothenburg and Dutch Groningen are additional centres of priority 2 activity.


Priority 3 projects centre mainly on climate adaptation and ecosystem management. Flood defence, nature-based solutions, and citizen engagement are key aspects covered by these projects.

German Hamburg and Oldenburg as well as Flemish Aalst are prominent within this priority, while all North Sea Region countries are well represented.


Priority 4 projects support green mobility and transport, including freight and passenger transport. They cover a broad range of topics, from shared mobility to autonomous driving and low-carbon fuels.

The Flemish city of Gent is the largest hub for beneficiaries of North Sea Region transport projects. The UK cities Inverness, Leeds and Aberdeen as well as Dutch Assen are additional strongholds for this priority.

Above all, these colourful maps demonstrate the high level of transnational networking and cooperation that goes on within our Programme. Bringing people together around a common challenge is a core aspect of every project we fund.

Meer informatie op de website van North Sea Region Programme