Interreg European grant scheme

Interreg is a European grant scheme for spatial and regional development. Parties from different countries cooperate on Interreg projects.

European cooperation on economic development

The official name of Interreg is: European Territorial Cooperation. Interreg programmes are part of the ERDF and are aimed at strengthening cohesion between regions across national borders.

Interreg programmes can be divided into 4 different strands:

  • cooperation in border regions (Interreg A);
  • cooperation between regions in different countries (transnational – Interreg B);
  • interregional and pan-European cooperation (Interreg C);
  • cooperation with and between the European territories that are not part of the European continent (outermost regions – Interreg D).

The Netherlands’ budget for 2021-2027

The Netherlands will receive €378.6 million in EU funds for the period 2021-2027 to allocate to Interreg A and B programmes. This amount will be allocated as follows: 

  • €274.5 million to Interreg A; 
  • €104.1 million to Interreg B. 

Interreg C and D are funded directly from the EU budget. The public authorities and other parties that take part in a programme must also pay towards its costs. 

Cooperation in border regions (Interreg A)

Economic activities and developments in the Netherlands often interact with economic activities and developments in neighbouring countries.  The aim is to align these activities for mutual benefit. Interreg A programmes focus mainly on cross-border innovation (especially green innovation) and SMEs. There are also programmes aimed at cooperation in other areas such as the labour market, education and nature conservation. 

4 programmes in border regions

Interreg A programmes are cross-border by definition. The Netherlands is taking part in 3 Interreg A programmes with Belgium and Germany:

The Interreg 2 Seas 2014-2020 programme will not be continued after the final projects are concluded (probably in 2023). 

All programmes have regional contact persons, also known as facilitators. You can find their details on the programme websites.

Cooperation between regions in different countries (Interreg B)

The Netherlands is taking part in 2 transnational programmes, in which a number of countries work together across a wide region. The EU Green Deal provides important guiding principles for these programmes. The 2 programmes are:

  • Interreg North Sea Region
    Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France work together in this programme. The projects in this programme focus on innovation, the transition to a green economy and climate resilience, for example. The aim is to make the region more attractive to live, work and invest in.
  • Interreg North West Europe
    Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland work together in this programme, which focuses on innovation, a smart and just energy transition, climate resilience and the efficient use of resources and materials.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) can help develop a project or find suitable partners for both programmes. 

Interregional and pan-European cooperation (Interreg C)

There are 4 pan-European programmes:

  • Interreg Europe aims to improve policy instruments for regional development via projects and knowledge platforms. Many different themes can be covered. The focus is on a smarter and more competitive Europe, a greener and more resilient Europe, and a more social and inclusive Europe.
    RVO can help you develop a project or find suitable partners
  • ESPON contributes to balanced development in Europe through research on various aspects of territorial development. More information is available from the contact person at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
  • Interact offers knowledge, support and training courses for policymakers and project partners involved in the Interreg programmes.
  • URBACT focuses on cooperation between cities in EU member states and in Norway and Switzerland, for example. The URBACT website provides details of the URBACT contact point in the Netherlands.