Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities
The Circular Economy in Groningen, the Netherlands
The City of Groningen is the biggest urban centre of a prevalently rural region and
hosts the youngest population in the Netherlands. The presence of renowned universities,
the high number of students and a fast growing start-up scene alongside a vibrant
business and innovation environment, make Groningen a knowledge hub for the region.
Since the Dutch national cabinet decided to phase out natural gas production by 2022,
Groningen has intensified its regional leading role in the energy transition aiming
to become energy neutral by 2035, according to which the energy demand is met entirely
by renewables. In 2018, the Municipal Council took the unanimous decision of making
the circular economy a priority for the city, identifying three priority areas: public
procurement, waste and knowledge. This case study presents the state of the art of
the circular economy in Groningen, the main challenges for designing a circular economy
strategy and the ways forward for the city’s circular transition.