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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, 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.

European level

EU Circular Economy Package

In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious new action plan for the circular economy to stimulate Europe’s transition to a circular economy, which would boost global competitiveness, promote sustainable economic growth and create new jobs. A new proposal for legislation in the field of waste management is attached. It is included in this proposal:

  • The target of recycling 65% of household waste across the EU by 2030;
  • A ban on the landfilling of individual waste streams;
  • Improved definitions and calculation methods to measure recycling rates;
  • Economic incentives to market ‘greener’ products and to support recycling and reuse (European Commission, 2019).

In 2019, the European Commission stated that the action plan for the circular economy can be regarded as complete. It stated that the 54 actions of the Action Plan have already been implemented or are in the process of being implemented. According to the report, the implementation of the Action Plan has accelerated the transition to a circular economy in Europe, which has helped put the EU back on the road to job creation. In 2016, more than four million people were employed in the sectors relevant to the circular economy, an increase of 6% compared to 2012.

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