Highlights Event Grenzeloos Circulair 2023

November 17, 2023

The 2023 Stakeholder Event took place on the 14th of November in the North of the Netherlands. Over 100 participants from Groningen, Friesland and the rest of the Netherlands gathered in Delfzijl (Groningen) to share and exchange their experiences with circular entrepreneurship, on regional and international level.

This special edition was moderated by Bart Volkers, Operational Manager Circulair Groningen, Strategic Consultant Circulair Friesland and Program Manager Dutch Knowledge and Innovatie Agenda Circular Economie (KIA CE) .

The event was organised by Holland Circular Hotspot in cooperation with Circular Groningen, Circular Friesland, Groningen Seaports, KIA-CE, Noord-Nederland verdient circulair and RVO, and was supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

On this page you can find the highlights of the event, presentations and speeches.


Opening Session

Following the networking lunch, Bart Volkers, (Operational Manager Circulair Groningen, Strategic Consultant Circulair Friesland and Program Manager Dutch Knowledge and Innovation Agenda Circular Economy, KIA-CE),  welcomed all the participants and kicked off the event emphasising the need to collaborate locally and internationally to reach a circular economy.

During this opening session different speakers exchanged their views and ambitions for a dutch and international circular economy.

Heleen van Wijk (Business manager Circular Economy Groningen Seaports and chairman Circular Groningen) was addressed first, and she illustrated her work for both Groningen seaports and her chair role for the Circular Groningen. Heleen together with Alex Berhitu (NOM) and Soraya Ludema (Chemport) handed over the report ‘Baanbrekers Circulaire Economie’ on circularity in the region to Henk Emmens, in his role of board member of the National Program Groningen (NPG).

Henk Emmens (Provincial Executive member for the Province of Groningen for agriculture, nature, economy and services) continued with the ambitions of the province regarding circularity and shared how he feels the region can make a big impact in the national and global transition.

Arnoud Passenier (strategic international advisor to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) talked about the international circular ambitions of the Netherlands, the selected product groups and ongoing projects.

Freek van Eijk (director of Holland Circular Hotspot) shared how the momentum for circularity beyond our borders is only growing and the interest to learn from and exchange with the Netherlands is huge.

Nick Boersma (program manager Circulair Friesland) highlighted the successful exemplary model of Circulair Friesland, and the many circular cooperations and initiatives it created since its start in 2015.


During the day, pitches were given by circular companies and organisations:

Breakout sessions round 1: a deep-dive into 3 themes

During this session the guests participated in engaging sessions on one out of three topics of their choice:

  1. Chemical Recycling: led by Freek van Eijk (HCH).  Willem Sederel (Circular Biobased Delta) opened the session with a summary of the insights and recommendations of the recent publication Chemical Recycling in Circular Perspective. Heleen van Wijk (Chemport Europe), Jasper Munier (Clariter) and Tijmen Vries (BioBTX) shared their activities in the field. Subsequently, they all engaged in interesting discussions with Arnoud Passenier (IenW) and Arnold Stokking (Chemport) about the
  2. Circular & Biobased buildings: led by Nick Boersma (Circular Friesland), who shared the interesting programme Fryslân Bouwt Circulair. Later, André Mepschen (WaterAlliance) gave an engaging presentation on circular building with water, and Stéphanie Schuitemaker (Holland Circular Hotspot) gave an overview of international opportunities for circular buildings within and outside Europe.
  3. Circular & Smart manufacturing: led by Luca Polidori (Holland Circular Hotspot). During this session, Jan Post (Philips), who is also  Extraordinary Professor of Digital Fabrication/Manufacturing presented his insights on adoption of a circular future by the manufacturing industry. Diana de Graaf (Holland Circular Hotspot) presented the key insight from then new HCH publication Circular Batteries – Charging the Future. She was followed by Steef Steeneken (Bitterbridge) and Daan Bosma (RWE) who talked about the circular future and transitions of their company.

Session 2: Kennismarkt and Workshops

During this session guests were able to participate in one of the two engaging sessions.

  1. Kennismarkt (Knowledge Market International Opportunities): led by Stéphanie Schuitemaker (HCH). People who chose this track were able to know the range of support and financing on offer for international entrepreneurship, with the cooperation of RVO, Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), World Trade Center Noord-Nederland/ Leeuwarden, Exportclub Noord, Oranjewoud Export Academy, Interreg Deutschland-Nederland, Trade&Innovate NL, Ynbusiness, GroBusiness and I am Drenthe entrepreneur.
  2. Workshop Boundless Circular from the region: led by Alex Berhitu (NOM, Investment and Development Agency for the Northern Netherlands). The main aim of this workshop was to ‘get tools to concretely build international chains’. With the contributions from Wytze Rijke (TCNN) on the programme ‘Noord-Nederland verdient Circulair‘ and Sander Bos (Province of Friesland) on circular projects with EU funding, this track presented engaging discussion on what are the opportunities and how can cooperation for circular initiative can be started both in the region and internationally.

Closing session and celebrations

During the closing session, all the guests came together for final remarks and future perspective on the circular economy prospects for the Netherlands. At this time, Holland Circular Hotspot celebrated the 200th publication of showcases with Clariter; KIA-CE announced its 20th project awarded to Beyond Wood for its project “Circulaire Sandwichpanelen’ ; and Butterbridge was welcomed as 50th member of Circulair Groningen.

The day was concluded with a walking dinner where all guests were able to share their ideas and ambitions with each other, before saying goodbye.

Watch other pictures of the event here