Water management, sustainable economy and agriculture. These are the focus areas of North-Holland North, the region north of Amsterdam.
In terms of knowledge development, the focus in North Holland is on water management, renewable energy and agriculture. “Fighting against the water is, as it were, typical of the Netherlands. More than 25 percent of the country lies below sea level. Therefore, there is a lot of expertise in the field of water management. Everywhere in the world where water disasters occur — as in New Orleans in 2005, New York in 2012 and early this year in the English Somerset where whole areas were flooded due to persistent rainfall — Dutch water experts are called in.
In North Holland itself, the large-scale water projects like the Afsluitdijk, which connects the provinces of North Holland and Friesland with each other, the Houtribdijk, which connects North Holland with the province of Flevoland, demonstrate how one tames the water here.
Water also plays a major role in North Holland in many other economic areas: tourism and water sports, transport over water, fishing and other water-related activities.
North Holland has a sustainable energy programme. The province focuses it on policies to be less dependent on fossil fuels and to stimulate innovation and business in the renewable energy sector. Here, four priority areas have been identified: biomass gasification, wind at sea (offshore wind), sustainable construction and solar energy. The province works closely with the Energy Board. This is a collaboration between industry, government, research and educational institutions. The objective of the Energy Board is to accelerate the developments in the field of renewable energy in North-Holland and strengthen the economy. One of the achievements of the Energy Board is the new Dutch Offshore Academy. It is an initiative of the Port and Shipping Association in Den Helder, the Regional Training Centre (ROC) of Noord Holland and various companies. The goal is to make Den Helder the student city for anyone who wants to work in the offshore oil and gas or wind energy sector. The Academy collaborates with educational institutions like Tetrix and DHTC and with research institutes such as TNO and Imares.
The agricultural sector is united in Greenport North-Holland North; one of the six greenports in the Netherlands. The region has a production value of approximately 3 to 3.5 billion Euros. North Holland North is, in particular, internationally prominent in the field of seed improvement. The Netherlands exports about 16 billion Euros in horticultural and agricultural products annually. The starting material (seeds, cuttings, bulbs and tubers) comes from Dutch breeding stations and propagation companies. World trade in vegetables and seeds is 80 percent owned by nine multinationals. Five of these have their headquarters, logistics centre, and/or research facilities in Seed Valley, the area between Enkhuizen and Warmenhuizen.
Agriport A7 is located approximately in the middle of Seed Valley. Agriport A7 is a modern horticultural and logistics project in the Wieringermeerpolder, 40 kilometers from Amsterdam. Hundreds of hectares of arable land have become the centre for modern, large-scale greenhouse farming and open field crops. Central to Agriport is a new business terrain where construction will soon begin on the European Data Center belonging to the U.S. software giant, Microsoft. Through the clustering of large-scale production of fresh vegetables, processing and logistics, and because of the optimum use of waste products (heat, water and CO2 surpluses from one company to are used by another company), Agriport A7 seen as the most Modern Agricultural Park in the world.