The Netherlands and Chemicals
The Dutch chemicals industry is made up of company clusters, which are strongly interlinked. For example, large companies for bulk and fine chemicals join forces with SMEs, but also with knowledge-rich new entrepreneurs fresh out of university. Very often, the starting point is that the waste product from one process provides the raw material for the next.
This partnership within the sector yields a rich knowledge infrastructure. Particularly in the fields of smart polymeric materials, process technology, biobased economy and new chemical innovations, Dutch expertise is exceptional. This is reflected in, for example, the development of self-repairing and self-cleaning plastics, new molecules for medical applications and materials for new generations of solar cells. In this domain, the Netherlands clearly links in with international initiatives such as the ARRRA-cluster (Antwerp-Rotterdam-Rhine-Ruhr-Area). ARRRA produces 40% of Europe's chemical products.
Top sector Chemicals
Due to our key position, the Dutch government decided to designate the chemicals sector as one of 9 top sectors in which it wants the country to excel. Within the top sector Chemicals, government, researchers and companies are looking for ways to strengthen one another in a structured way. The parties receive targeted support from the Dutch government. Moreover, the sector is heavily organised around an internationalisation agenda.
Top team Chemicals
Chemicals as a sector has a top team that encourages innovation. This team includes representatives of science, government, business and in many cases also education and other parties. The figurehead of the top sector Chemicals is Gerard van Harten. He is a board member of the industry association for chemicals VNCI, executive council of the American Chamber of Commerce at the European Union and former chairman of Dow Benelux. Van Harten is the driver of the top team and point of contact for the sector's international action agenda.
Join the knowledge flow!
The Dutch culture of consultation is the driving force behind the partnership within the top sector. International conferences form an important link in that culture. Conference cities such as Rotterdam and Maastricht bring together knowledge flows from the top sector, and make sure conferences attract notice within those flows.