The Agrifood and Dairy Sector in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe

The Netherlands as a whole is second only to the USA for its agrifood exports worldwide, and it has the second highest private R&D investment in agrifood in Europe. As an example, the Innolab Agrifood on the Zernike Campus in Groningen was created through a collaboration between Avebe and the RUG.

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As with many other sectors in the Northern Dutch economy, Agrifood is characterised by strong collaboration between various research institutes, higher education, and the private sector. All of this is underscored by continuous support by local, regional, and national government.
Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe are also large agricultural producers- with the main crops being sugar beet, potato, and grains. Naturally, the geographical position of the Netherlands is a plus to this industry, with easy road connections to Western Europe, a large port in Delfzijl, and a position within the EU’s single market.
Many of the largest companies in the region have worked to create innovation centres and partnerships into the future of Agrifood. One of the largest potato producers in the Netherlands, Avebe teamed up with Campus Groningen, amongst others, to create the Innolab Agrifood on the Zernike Campus in Groningen. Aside from all of Avebe’s R&D facilities having moved into the new centre, space has been set aside especially for innovative small and medium companies in the Agrifood sector. Companies within the Innolab Agrifood are working on functional food ingredients, nutraceuticals, and sustainability (amongst other research areas).

Another similar organisation located on the Zernike Campus is the Carbohydrate Competence Center (CCC). Founded in 2008, and with four research programmes totalling €34 million in budget, the CCC researches on a demand-driven principle, facilitating public-private partnerships with small companies. Its two main areas of research at the moment are ‘Carbohydrates for Nutrition and Health’, and ‘carbohydrate Conversion and Processing’. The CCC also has an active calendar of symposia and events (such as the ‘Starch Round Table’), to help spread their findings and research. Dutch cheese and dairy products are world-renowned, and the Netherlands has around 18,000 dairy farmers- with the province of Friesland a major producer and exporter. Fittingly, dairy giant FrieslandCampina teamed up with the universities of Wageningen and Groningen, the Van Hall Laurenstien University of Applied Sciences and Nordwin College, and the local government to create the DairyCampus in Leeuwarden. The 14-hectare site has a massive range of research, training, and reception rooms- with research currently including manure processing, integration of sensors, sustainable breeding; water flow, and research into the lives of farmers- amongst others.

The Technology Centre Northern Netherlands also has a research interest in Agrifood- with such initiatives as the Food Trendpanel and Trend Colleges and more specific projects such as Sustainable Energy in Prawn Fishing. Other research interests include those that dovetail with other areas of Northern Dutch expertise, such as Health Ageing, and Energy efficiency. Some of the projects are aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, with other hoping to interface with start-ups, and established giants. Finally, Greenlincs, which is an initiative by the NOM, has several sub-projects of interest to the Agrifood sector, including the Biorefinery Cluster(s) that focus on creating a CO2-neutral environment, cross-border working with Germany, and think-centres looking at Agrifood from a national perspective.

Companies and jobs in agrifood and dairy

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Tapp

  • Leeuwarden
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Interested to hire PhDs
  • Interested to hire permitholders
  • 5+
FrieslandCampina

FrieslandCampina

  • Leeuwarden
  • Interested to hire PhDs
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Food & Beverage
  • 1+
12102022 Nieuwsbericht Compose (1)

Recell

  • Groningen
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • (Green) Chemistry
  • Agrifood & Dairy
  • 1+
Dacom 1 (1)

Dacom

  • Haren
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Digital & IT
  • Agrifood & Dairy