For the southern Dutch provinces, the world does not stop at the border. In fact, the world only begins here. Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg are three provinces, who have always looked and acted beyond their own borders. Europe is their backyard and it is the place where opportunities for further development are plentiful.
South Netherlands is working on its future. Although the region has many strong sectors, its strengths explicitly lie in the fields of innovation, agriculture and logistics. Within The Netherlands, as well as within Europe, the position of South Netherlands is being strengthened. Considering the Dutch population, one out of four people (a total of 4 million) lives in this region, 24% of the Gross National Product is generated in the Southern Netherlands. South Netherlands plays an increasingly important part in the Dutch economy.
Although each province has a clear and distinctive identity, common features can be distinguished. For example, the region has a strong value-added manufacturing and process industry which plays a key role in the economic development of the Netherlands as a whole. Key factors for success include the interaction between the provincial governments and the companies as well as a strong research-based economy. Cross-border cooperation is important. This has been proven in various ways and in several areas, including employment, economy, education, health care, infrastructure, water, security and environment. The presence of multiple Euroregions underlines the importance of cross-border cooperation. In effect, it is essential to the ongoing socio-economic development of the region.
The geographical location of South Netherlands is unique. It is ideally located between the three metropolitan areas: the Randstad, the Flemish Diamond region and the Rhine-Ruhr region. Furthermore, there is a strong agriculture industry. The different agricultural businesses range from large-scale intensive livestock production and horticulture in the east to large-scale extensive agriculture in the west.
In addition, Zeeland, Limburg and Noord-Brabant are popular tourist destinations. In this field, the three southern provinces are working closely together with Flanders and Wallonia in Belgium and Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany. Thanks to the European Interreg programmes several projects have been implemented and new projects are planned, such as Bio Base Europe in the port area Gent-Terneuzen and the creation of a hydrogen region in the scope Flanders / South Netherlands.