The packaging sector of the Northern Netherlands

Each of the Provinces of Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe have several large packaging companies- with many centred around Emmen, Hoogeveen and Coevorden (in Drenthe), the city of Groningen, and in the area around the city of Leeuwarden (Friesland).

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Some have developed out of one of the oldest paper mills in the country, whilst others specialise in agricultural products, and others have come about to support such large producers as FrieslandCampina.  

The national Dutch federation for packaging producers is the VNV, which aside from organising conferences and chances to network, also pools sector-specific job adverts and provides chance for collaboration between companies. Another national organisation for the packaging industry, and its supply chain, is the NVC. The NVC offers a number of training workshops and symposia about the industry and its future, as well as lists of suppliers, a ‘knowledge bank’; and even E-courses. Slightly back down the supply chain, there is also a national association for packaging materials makers: the NVGP

In keeping with the overall development objectives of both the Netherlands as a whole, but also the North in particular, a vibrant industry is arising centred around making packaging more sustainable. Indeed, such large companies as the dairy giant FrieslandCampina have said that they wish to move to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. Nationally, efforts to make packaging more sustainable are led by the Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken (KDV), but many of the innovations required to make this more sustainable future a reality come from the North. Indeed, between 2015 and 2019, the KDV teamed up with a number of universities including the University of Groningen on an enormous research project into the future of packaging in general. The very wide-ranging research covered such areas as E-commerce packaging, the recycling of mineral oils in paper and card, how to re-integrate PET into newly produced bottles- and indeed how to move all of these plans from the drawing board to reality.  

A number of important innovations in this sector have come about due to the Chemical Cluster Emmen, including 100% bio-based polyester, and the creation of a bio-based polymer that functions in the same way as PET (the normally-used oil based polymer) at the moment.  

This rich research eco-system is supported by the work of various higher education institutions. One such example is NHL Stenden, which has a research institute for Sustainable Plastics located at its campus in Emmen. The institute currently conducts research under four main areas of interest: recycling and upcycling plastics, biopolymers, smart materials, and biocomposites. As with many research institutions, Sustainable Plastics teams up with a number of private companies to help turbo-charge its research and bring its innovations to market more quickly.  

Naturally, the packaging industry requires a steady supply of new designers, whether technical or visual. Luckily, the Hanzehogeschool Groningen has a series of undergraduate and Masters-level courses in design that are highly rated nationally.  

Companies and jobs in packaging

Warehouse worker PostNL Kolham (morning)

  • 365Werk
  • Groningen
  • Parttime (8-32hr)
  • Packaging
  • Food & Beverage
  • 2+

Dishwasher at de Smaak Groningen

  • 365Werk
  • Groningen
  • Parttime (8-32hr)
  • Packaging
  • Food & Beverage
  • 2+
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Tapp

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

Cycloon

  • Groningen
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Interested to hire PhDs
  • Packaging
  • 1+
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Henkel

  • Scheemda
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Interested to hire PhDs
  • Interested to hire permitholders
  • 2+
Pyroll Hero

Pyroll Winschoten B.V.

  • Winschoten
  • Interested to hire internationals
  • Packaging