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Circular Economy

What is the Dutch and European ambition?

In the Netherlands and Europe, the urgency of a transition to a circular economy has been noted. As a result, goals have been set by the EU and the Dutch government to create a more circular system. A government-wide vision has been drawn up in the Netherlands and there are various concrete ambitions for the EU to work on a circular economy.

National level

National Programme Circular Economy

The national government’s ambition is for the Dutch economy to use 50% less primary raw materials by 2030 than it does today, and to be fully circular by 2050. This ambition is formulated in the government-wide Circular Economy Programme, which was presented in October 2016. In this document, entitled The Netherlands Circular in 2050 (in Dutch), a government-wide plan for the successful implementation of the circular economy has been drawn up on behalf of several ministries. Subsequently, in January 2017, this ambition was endorsed in the Raw Materials Agreement by hundreds of companies, trade unions, governments and many other social organisations.

In the government-wide programme, five priority sectors have been selected in which a great deal of profit can be achieved by means of the circular economy. For each of these sectors, a transition team – consisting of representatives of the government, the business community and other social parties – has drawn up a transition agendas (in Dutch):

The central government has in turn translated these transition agendas into an Implementation Programme for the Economy Circular 2019 – 2023 (in Dutch).

European level

A new action plan for the Circular Economy

In 2020, the European Commission wrote a new action plan for the circular economy, subtitled: “for a cleaner and more competitive Europe”. This plan is part of the European Green Deal and aims to accelerate the transition towards a regenerative economic growth model.

The action plan describes a policy framework for sustainable products, containing amongst other things a legislative proposal for sustainable production that sets ecological design as the new standard.

The action plan contains an explicit set of goals for the value chains of electronics & ICT, batteries and vehicles, packaging, plastics, textile, construction and buildings, food, water and nutrient management.

The European Commission also wants to research how it can better protect the European consumer against greenwashing and the commission wants to strengthen the “Right to Repair”, in which a producer is responsible to provide the option to repair or upgrade its products in order to increase the durability of the products.

The European commission wants to strengthen its waste policy and puts extra effort  into the creation of a well functioning market for secondary resources, making “Recycled in the EU” a status symbol for used materials of high quality.

By stimulating research, innovation and digitalisation, as well as conducting policies en providing financial support, the European Commission wants to make circularity feasible and economically viable.

The European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform is still the place  where stakeholders can exchange information.

Do you want to read more? Read the full action plan here.

For more information on the policy of the Dutch government and the European Commission, please visit the website: