The NL mission to Malaysia: Solving Global Challenges Together

October 18, 2022

Holland Circular Hotspot (HCH), together with 10 Dutch companies and a research institute, visited Malaysia to participate in the NL Trade Mission to Southeast Asia’s leading trade event for green technologies and eco solutions, IGEM, Kuala Lumpur from 12 to 14 October 2022.

HCH’s CEO Freek van Eijk acted as the mission leader and moderator of the highlight of the event, the ‘NL Innovation Forum: Embracing Leading Technologies for a Green Economy’.



The Dutch trade mission on Waste Management & Circular Economy brought along the following Dutch frontrunners: Ocean Clean Up, HYVA, Cargo Floor, Terberg Environmental Holding, Paques, HoSt / Infinrg, Afvalzorg, Tritech, Victron Energy and TNO. Given that the Netherlands and South East Asia Countries shared the same challenges arising from climate change and waste generation, the mission was significant.

“Climate change doesn’t stop at the border, and resource value chains span the globe. No single country faces these challenges alone. The Netherlands needs South East Asia to be successful,” Freek van Eijk said.

During the kick-off meeting for the Dutch delegation, Machiel van Stralen, diplomat at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Malaysia, gave a presentation about the State of Play Waste & Circular Economy in five ASEAN countries.

The meeting was followed by a visit to Berjaya EnviroParks Sdn Bhd sanitary landfill. The visit gave the Dutch delegates insight into state-of-art waste management in Malaysia.

"Climate change doesn't stop at the border, and resource value chains span the globe. No single country faces these challenges alone."

Freek van Eijk, HCH's CEO

NL Innovation Forum

The main event of ‘NL Innovation Forum: Embracing Leading Technologies for A Green Economy’ took place on 12 October. H.E. Jaap Werner, Ambassador-Designate, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Malaysia, called the event “another groundbreaking moment” which showed that the world needed to move away from a linear economy.

Freek van Eijk and Bert Keesman gave presentations about ‘The Netherlands as a Living Lab for Sustainable Transitions’, ‘Waste Management Practice in the Netherlands’ and the ‘Future of Plastics in a Circular Economy,’ during which they emphasized the importance of collaboration to achieve circularity.

“To scale up to a meaningful level, collaboration is key. Public sector, private sector, knowledge institutes, consumers, and cross value chain collaboration.” – Freek van Eijk

Representatives of all five ASEAN 5 countries shared their perspectives on business opportunities and challenges in the regions. The panelists were Iwan Rutjens (NL Embassy in Hanoi), Sophie Willems (NL Embassy in Singapore), Patarisa Boonserm (NL Embassy in Thailand), Ho De Leong (Chairman of the Waste Management Association of Malaysia), and Christine Halim (Chairwoman of the Indonesian Plastic Recycling Association).

Brochure and Video Launch

During the NL Forum, HCH’s latest publication, ‘Waste Management as a catalyst to a Circular Economy,’ and a video on waste management were launched. Best practices from entrepreneurs, lessons learned from public authorities and institutions active in waste management in the Netherlands are presented in the publication. Meanwhile, the video inspires viewers about economic opportunities arising from waste management.

The brochure was handed to Dato’ Seri Zaini Ujang, Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Water, Malaysia, and HRH The Regent of Pahang, Crown Prince Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah (13 October). The handover took place at the NL Pavilion, which was awarded second place in the Creative Booth Design category.

Waste Management as a catalyst to a Circular Economy

EU-Malaysia Circular Economy Conference

HCH also participated in the side event of IGEM, ‘EU-MY Circular Economy Conference 2.0′, organized by EUROCHAM Malaysia and European Union in Malaysia.

YB Dato’ Iskandar Abdul Samad, Chairman of Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation (MGTC) gave the keynote speech, in which he emphasized that transformation to a circular economy is inevitable.

“Transitioning to a circular and sustainable economy opens the way for more opportunities in emerging and existing industries, as well as strengthening our economy through clean and renewable methods”.

HCH’s CEO Freek van Eijk, as one of the panelists, said the sharing of knowledge between Malaysia and the Netherlands, as well as with the EU, is necessary to achieve progress. 

“By sharing government-to-government lessons, business-to-business lessons, knowledge to knowledge, and involvement of the consumers, we can really do a lot.” 

Visit to the Ministry

On the final day of the mission, the delegation met with representatives of the Malaysian Ministry of Housing and Local Government and SWCorp and joined an interactive and constructive talk on Waste Management practices and closing the loop towards a Circular Economy.

Throughout the mission, Dutch delegations shared knowledge and offered circular solutions for waste management while at the same time learning about the progress, potentials, and challenges faced by ASEAN 5 Countries (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore) in their journey towards sustainability.

The four-day mission was really productive, with circular economy actors from the Netherlands and 5 ASEAN Countries successfully linked and networked. It has laid out the foundation for a successful collaboration between the parties in the future.