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Northern Netherlands presents plans for accelerated talent development in national plan Beethoven

The Northern Netherlands today presented its plans to boost talent development in engineering. The plans are part of the cabinet's ambitious Beethoven plan, intended to keep the semicon industry and companies like ASML for the Netherlands.

The labor shortage in engineering and specifically the semicon industry, the industry that plays a crucial role in the production of modern electronic products, such as smartphones, consumer electronics and medical devices, is severe. In 2023, there were as many as 80,000 job openings. This marks companies in our region, as well as companies like ASM International, Nexperia, BE Semiconductor Industries and ASML; one of the leaders in the global microchip industry. If the Netherlands wants to maintain its position in the absolute world top, this shortage must be quickly reduced.


To address the shortage of technically skilled personnel, the Cabinet is investing as much as €450 million through 2030 under the heading "Beethoven. After that, €80 million will be available annually. The funds are intended for knowledge institutions in four regions: Eindhoven, Delft, Twente and Groningen, the latter of which has explicitly broadened its proposition to the entire North Netherlands region.

Beethoven Plan North Netherlands

New courses and focus on influx of engineering students

The Northern Netherlands expects to provide 3,200 additional engineering graduates per year between 2025 and 2030. To this end, a number of new courses are being developed, including a course in Instrument Making (mbo), an Associate Degree in Analytical Engineering (hbo) and an Engineering Doctorate in Autonomous Systems (wo).

It will also focus on increasing the intake of engineering students, reducing the dropout rate of engineering students, harnessing untapped labor potential and encouraging inclusion.

Everything in place to make a substantial contribution to talent development in the semicon industry

Erica Schaper, Board Chair of NHL Stenden, Vice Chair of the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences and also Steering Committee Chair of the University of the North: "The Northern Netherlands has been asked to contribute to the Beethoven plan. This is not surprising when you consider that we have a strong innovative ecosystem with fantastic multi-level education and research in the range from mbo to wo, which is strongly linked to companies from, for example, Innovation Cluster Drachten and companies from the manufacturing industry in the Emmen region. The Northern Netherlands is also leading the regional HTSM (High Tech Systems and Materials) agenda 'Smart & Green Systems', which brings together knowledge, activity and talent in the field of autonomous systems and future-proof computing. Add to that the space we still have here and the ambition of the region and you understand that we have everything we need to make a substantial contribution to the task at hand."

Northern Netherlands attractive business location

Dina Boonstra of NOM concurs: "The Northern Netherlands is known for its strong manufacturing industry, anchored in one of the cleanest and greenest regions of the Netherlands. This manufacturing industry is fueled by world-class education and research. The arrival of companies such as SHINE, Google and NTS Norma therefore demonstrates that the Northern Netherlands is an attractive place to locate."

Broad-based collaboration

The knowledge institutions and NOM cannot do it alone. The Northern provinces, the municipalities of Groningen, Leeuwarden, Smallingerland and Emmen, the Economic Board Noord- Nederland, VNO-NCW MKB Noord, Campus Groningen, Greenwise Campus, Innovation Cluster Drachten, Witec, Hittech, NTS Norma, Hardt Hyperloop and IT Hub Hoogeveen have backed the plans.

A boost to the region's broad prosperity

Although Beethoven is primarily focused on strengthening the semicon industry in the south of the country, Schaper and Boonstra see clear benefits for the region. "The northern Netherlands has companies that make state-of-the-art components and systems that meet the needs of the semicon industry. We are talking about advanced materials, high-precision components and systems that combine sensor technology, mechatronics, smart software and electrical engineering. Witec, Hittech and NTS Norma are well-known examples of this. They have been suppliers to ASML for many years. The growing supply of talent is naturally very attractive to these companies. Beethoven enables us to match our educational and research offerings even more closely to the demand from the business community and will give an increasing number of students and professionals the opportunity to gain work experience at companies in the Northern Netherlands and beyond. All in all, therefore, we see this boost as a good development for the broad prosperity of the Northern Netherlands."

University of the North

The University of the North is an initiative of the RUG, the UMCG, Hanze, NHL Stenden, Van Hall Larenstein and the Northern MBO. With the University of the North, the affiliated educational and knowledge institutions want to give a boost to broad prosperity in the Northern Netherlands and the transitions as formulated in the Knowledge Agenda. This will be achieved by making smart use of each other's campus facilities, making each other's education accessible and stimulating hybrid research groups and entrepreneurship.