Benelux collaboration for recovery plans in circular construction

October 26, 2020

On September 10, 2020, the General Secretariat of the Benelux, the embassies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Brussels organized a webinar on circular construction. This webinar, held under the Dutch Presidency, has enabled representatives of the European Commission and of the Benelux countries to share key elements of their policies, to discuss important developments in the construction sector and to highlight new cross-border cooperation opportunities with the aim of establishing certain economic recovery plans for our countries.

This article was published in Dutch on, read the original version here.


Benelux collaboration on economic and environmental interests in the construction and building sector

The Benelux has approximately 126 million tons of construction waste. It is therefore important in these difficult times, especially for the construction and building industry, to look with determination to the future and to rebuild our economies and our societies by promoting recycling and the use of construction and demolition waste both as by encouraging the public’s use of recycled construction waste.

In his opening speech, the ambassador of the Netherlands, Pieter Jan Kleiweg de Zwaan, underlined the importance of working together on economic and environmental interests in the construction and building sector. Numerous speakers have stressed the importance of knowledge exchange on policy, identifying the areas where national projects could be embedded in a regional collaboration and exploring the opportunities for collaboration in the construction sector, all the more so as companies are prepared to face this challenge to engage proactively.

In view of the challenges of the circular economy, the Benelux Union offers opportunities and legal instruments to arrive at a coordinated data collection policy, to encourage the separate processing of waste flows, to facilitate waste transport and to create a Benelux market for secondary raw materials.

In addition, the Benelux cooperation can serve as a testing ground for European ambitions and objectives by testing ideas in the context of pilot projects, by trying out and improving systems and by subsequently sharing their experiences with their European partners.

The Belgian Deputy Secretary-General, Rudy Huygelen, concluded this morning by underlining that the conclusions of the webinar will soon be presented to the directors-general of the Benelux member states.


Benelux initiatives

Since 2015, at the request of the ministers, the transition to a circular economy has become one of the priorities of the Benelux Union. Several projects have already been implemented, such as the ministerial agreements concluded in 2015 and 2017 on the end-of-waste criteria for paper and construction and demolition waste management, as well as a study for improving the recoverability of goods, as well as education and awareness on the theme of circular economy.