RELOS3’s first Long-Term Visit recently was recently hosted by the local authority of Emmen, the Netherlands.  All six partners took part in this visit.  They are a specially designed activity within the project to analyse and prepare potential transfer of good practices. The best practices studied were collected during the baseline study and thematic events that were organised in the previous 18 months.

Focus on Green Chemistry and Tourism and Leisure

Emmen showed their approaches in two important sectors: Green Chemistry and Tourism and Leisure. Through company visits, meetings, presentations and interviews with key stakeholders in the Emmen area, the visitors gained not only insights, but also presented feedback on Emmen’s approach.

The feedback caused Emmen’s Vice Mayor Bouke Arends to remark: “If you really want to get something done, you better do it together: you find allies, supporters and critical friends. Not only your friend next door, but partners from unexpected places and different areas.

Smart Up! event complements

This friendly, but critical, approach continued at the Smart Up! event. In this event renowned researchers and practitioners such as Ron Boschma, Merete Daniel Nielsen and Miren Estensoro discussed matters such as the ‘relatedness’-concept, clusters and multi-level coordination and matrix-type interaction.

Although the focus was on the Northern Netherlands, this did not deter speakers from raising cases from other European regions.  Moreover, visitors could contribute their own cases.  This caused a dialogue not previously seen in the project.  

During workshops and plenary discussion, opinions were gathered on how the Northern Netherlands could improve its Smart Specialisation Strategy and how knowledge and ideas from partner might be applicable or adaptable for the situation in the Northern Netherlands. Particularly the need to develop a common, collective vision was considered to be important. Within that context, it is important for all actors to feel uninhibited and to be allowed to make mistakes, as long as they learn from them. All the information collected at the conference is published at the site <>, or you can watch the aftermovie below:

Next stop: Sabadell

In the last week of November, the next Long-Term Visit is organised by the Lead Partner of the project: the Economic Development Agency of Sabadell in Catalonia, Spain.