Socio-economic Master plan for regional development (NL)

Project partners 6 municipalities, Province of Fryslân, local stakeholders, entrepreneurs

Contact data
Municipality of Achtkarspelen
Auke Piet van der Meulen
Stationsstraat 18
Postbus 2
9285 ZV Buitenpost
Tel. +31 14 0511
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Key words regional vitality, branding, strategic network, entrepreneurship, strategic network, public-private partnership

Main problems to be solved (analysis) The north-eastern part of the Province of Fryslân is a beautiful, mostly rural area. with a lot of possibilities and chances: strong social cohesion, charming nature and beautiful landscape, rich cultural history. The region is confronted with a number of socio-economical problems: a relatively high level of unemployment, imbalanced labour market, a relatively low level of education and low incomes, substantial migration to more urban areas and an ageing population. The importance of agriculture is diminishing. In European regions new sectors are growing in importance but regions have to realize the good conditions for a vital transition.. The region expects that the region can deal better with this problems by developing cooperation between the local municipalities and the province All municipalities and the Province and cooperating partner organizations are confronted with their own challenges. However all partners are also confronted with several socio-economical or infrastructural challenges that affect them all,, for example the construction of a highway through the area, the widening of a channel and the upgrading of a railway with all corresponding possibilities for economical and social corresponding projects.

The core problem: - Vitality of the economy and accordingly the quality of life in the region is under pressure Challenges: - Bind skilled workers and higher education graduates to the region - make agricultural sector less dependent on European agricultural subsidies - Respond to shrinking ageing population and increases in scale in a way to ensure that decrease in quantity comes with increase and retention of quality. Key focus areas: - Achieving fundamental interconnection with urban hubs in Northern Netherlands and making the region into an area with an accent on living and working in a rural quality environment. Reach at forging coalitions and creating networks between companies and institutions within the region and with parties outside the region; start working in networks

Policy frameworks to be dealt with/fitting in Six municipalities and the province of Fryslân are cooperating. They all have their own strong local sense of identity by the separate municipalities and companies, but also have to cooperate in the regional cooperation, build a regional cooperation structure. But Cooperation also means political focus and prioritize. In 2010, the cooperation at the regional scale is further given form as Network Northeast. Network Northeast includes, in addition to the six governmental authorities (the NOFA municipalities, the municipality of Tytsjerksteradiel and the province of Fryslân), the entrepreneurs and society in the region.

All governmental bodies are represented in a steering group.

Aim of the project A social economic plan including an agenda for the next twenty years for the region, involving stakeholders for a common approach and joint forces.

Main themes: 1. Living and working landscape: - Construction of new infrastructure and improving existing infrastructure, with attention to a cohesive infrastructural network of the individual components (road, water, rail and digital network). - Investing in living environments and the landscape; with attention to specific living-working environments (starters, small businesses and cottage industries). - Understanding city and environment and how they complement each other. This understanding has to grow among residents and entrepreneurs, but also among administrators → as a result, new opportunities for financing landscape management, construction infrastructure, offering living and work locations, and also the maintenance and funding of central facilities.

Objectives - Infrastructure: In 2030, Northeast Fryslân will be excellently connected by road, rail, water and electronic communication for residents, businesses and visitors, and will also be interconnected with the urban networks in the north of the Netherlands and the rest of the world. - Living-working environments: In 2030, Northeast Fryslân will have a number of strong cluster cores with a complete range of facilities and business locations, with sufficient expansion potential for regional industry. The region will also be known for its attractive rural living environments and the excellent options for combining working and living. - Landscape: Connecting landscape of Northeast Fryslân optimally for recreation and tourism, with the preservation of ecosystems in mind, to boost the quality of the living environment and give an impulse to the regional economy.

2. Working in networks: -Development of the organisational infrastructure → expanding on strengths (finding each other, social cohesion and coherence) into a flexible and effective network - Creating trans-sectoral connections and strategic coalitions, i.e. intensive cooperation between entrepreneurs, government, labour market and education, forms of network companies and sustainable chains; attention to starters, small businesses and 'cottage industries'

Objectives - Network companies: Strategic networks and combinations are formed to give companies in Northeast Fryslân a competitive edge and allow them to expand their market areas. - Labour market and education: Business, education and government come together, so that in 2030 the educational sector and the labour market are in tune with each other and young people have a promising future in a region characterised by a high proportion of skilled workers and persons with higher education. - Sustainable chains: Efforts to create sustainable chains between companies and institutions, based on a drive for a sustainable living environment and creation of economic added value.

3. Creation of required conditions: - Ensuring a good implementation organisation and the administrative embedding of that organisation → organising financing in a timely and systematic way - Better communicate the potential and the opportunities of the region through a shared marketing plan → Tell and sell

Objectives - Organisation In Northeast Fryslân, five municipalities proved willing to develop a future perspective in consultation with the province of Fryslân. After the master plan is adopted, a movement has to be initiated towards the achievement of a specific result. - Financing The implementation of the socio-economic master plan and the programmes, projects and action points resulting from it demand significant investments in the longer term. For these investments, a Northeast Fryslân development fund has been created. - Marketing Northeast Fryslân is promoted as a coherent region in all its diversity. Here, the goal is not merely promoting tourism, but also increasing the opportunities for the business sector as a whole.

(Expected) Results Maintaining the quality of the region for inhabitants, companies and visitors and improving the quality of life by smart choices and well chosen investments. In the region there are lots of challenges, but with SEMP a structure is created for alignment, prioritizing and focus.

(Expected) outcome within the WP 1. An investment agenda for the coming years 2. Create a strong public private network 3. Cooperation between municipalities 4. Interesting region for inhabitants, visitor en companies 5. Vision documents for section topics in witch the region defines its ambitions about this topic.

(Expected) outcome for the region as a whole (impact of the project)

Planning The vision for the future, the master plan, is ready in 2010. The agenda of the project which should be done in de coming 20 years is ready in 2011. The accomplishment of the agenda is parted in sections of 5 years. The first 5 years period is started en 2011 and should be ready in 2016. The vision documents on section topics should be ready in 2013

Costs The first 5 years of the agenda cost 60 million euro The cost of the process of the making of the master plan and agenda is 300.000.

Financing The costs of the making of the master plan is divided between the 6 municipalities and the Province of Fryslan. The costs of the achievement of the agenda is divided between de local municipalities, the Province and other (private) partners The accomplishment of the projects named in the Agenda is divided in three parts: one third by the local government, one third by the province and one third by the private sector.

Implementation of the project (cf. CAA) The master plan project is a good example of a project which could be exported. But the main factor of success is, besides the preparation of employees who convinced parties, bundled initiatives and processes and prepared proposals, the attitude of the decision makers. Do they realize that they need each other? And that they have to settle compromises? If these conditions are settled, the master plan structure can be done elsewhere which stakeholders were involved? what process did you run through to fit the project into local conditions? how did you sustainably implement the project (locally, regionally)?


1 Which successes were achieved so far in the pilot project? the shaping up of the masterplan and the agenda. the making of a regional investment agenda the cooperation with SME's the process of the making is called an example for other regions in the Netherlands who have to cope with the same demographic problems. The SER, an advisory board of the national government has named is as an perfect example of pro-active handling. - what is the background / main reason for these successes? political willingness the sense of urgency the cooperation between private and public parties - what set-backs or problems did you face and what were the reasons for this? differences in local circumstances (mentality of the people) to keep al the parties in the process committed to the end goal - are there any break-down patterns to be recognized in the project? no - are these set-backs, problems or break-down patterns easy to solve? How? by negotiating. Dividing the set-backs over the different partners - what are the DO’s and the DON’Ts of the project? Inform everybody, be open and transparent, keep up the speed, work with a small group of decision preparators and decision makers - what are critical success factors in this project? political willingness, sense of urgency, positive attitude between public en private sector.

2 What are the expected boundary conditions for the project to be implemented? - in terms of policy frameworks frequent contact between politicians to adept policy frameworks - in terms of physical circumstances sense of urgency in the region large investments witch were already planned, like the construction of railways, new highway, Centrale As, through the region - in terms of involvement of people / partnerships / entrepreneurs / public bodies sense of urgency in the region the existing of partnerships, as a result of the NOFA experiment - in terms of budget and financial support enough budget to keep the process going according to time schedule concrete co finance for the projects.

3 Which related projects can be studied or consulted (other innovative best practice examples) before starting to think on implementation? Doing minor projects together, to get used to cooperation like the NOFA project

New rural strategy for Andalusia (NERA)

Promotion, support and follow-up of an in-depth process to develop a strategy, though discussion within, and at the initiative of the rural society of the fifty areas of intervention of the Andalusian Rural Development Groups (GDRs), in a systematic approach involving all of the local authorities and the economic, social, cultural and institutional sectors. Analysis of results and final design carried out by the GDRs following a procedure coordinated at the provincial and regional levels, to produce strategic documents, the proposals of which will determine the action of the GDRs until 2013 under the Rural Development Programmes (RDPs).

Network of Regional Innovation Agents (RIA), Castilla y Leon, Spain

The Castile-Leon region has set up a network of regional innovation agents to make the link between small, mostly rural and remote businesses and existing centrally located technological services. 12 regional development agents from different academic backgrounds were recruited and trained to form the innovation network.

4 What is the applicability / transferability of the project? a) as derived from the project results - in terms of critical mass (physical, social, budget) making a master plan is only wise if you can, by making the region larger, make more power to successfully start projects in the region. - in terms of the needs of the region or location - in terms of the starting point for implementation - in terms of participation and organization - in terms of time needed for implementation - in terms of expected outcome (spin off for other fields: physical, social, economical)

b) as derived from testing or implementation the project or the project results elsewhere. What were the results there?

5 Which tools does the project bring in to alleviate / help starting up implementation elsewhere? A structure and process design for a regional economic master plan The municipalities in the region have organized a process to set up a regional socio economic masterplan. In brainstorm session strategic partners, entrepreneurs and local and provincial governments have defined the themes with priority for the region. For this sessions a carrousel form was used. Mixed groups (with representatives with a different background) designed features of necessary interventions in the region. After an hour the groups switched an worked out the plans of another group. After another hour a third group completed these plans. This was the base for a vision text, the socio economic masterplan. In divers forums of the involved partners the plan is determined by the administration boards of involved partners. After determination the plan has been worked out in an agenda for the coming with distinction of thematical projects (the so called ambition projects; projects in which a regional vision on a certain theme will be worked out) and prioritized projects (concrete projects to be carried out). An organizational structure and a process structure has been set up to control the activities of the Agenda for the region

6 Sustainability a) How is/can the project be sustainably implemented? What is needed to reach this? - in terms of organization There is an efficient, dependent group of people who are working to implement the Agenda. - in terms of regional / local networks/partnerships / people You need regional players on different fields, like for example the ONOF for the entrepreneurs, - in terms of budget Enough budget to guarantee the first years of the project. In this period the project can show some results.

b) what are the benefits of the project seen from the Profit, Planet, and People side? By making the master plan and the ANNO there will be more investments in the region. Through these investments the region will be a better place to live, work en recreate.