Northern-Netherlands European front-runner in Healthy Ageing
On the picture: Daan Bulje, Director, HANNN
The Northern-Netherlands region leads the pack in Europe when it comes to Healthy Ageing, according to the European Commission.
On Wednesday 13 July 2016 it presented a ranking of European Reference Regions in the field of Active and Healthy Ageing. No less than 78 regions from 22 Member States sent in an application to be on the list on which ranking is determined by the number of stars awarded.
The Northern-Netherlands – under the leadership of the Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands (HANNN) – achieved the highest possible score of 4 stars, an honor bestowed upon only a very select group of Reference Sites. This recognition of excellence in Healthy Ageing in the Northern-Netherlands creates exposure and collaboration opportunities for its knowledge institutes and companies, making it easier to export innovations in the area of healthy and active ageing. The Northern-Netherlands is the only Dutch region to receive the coveted four-star status
The four stars are a result of a thorough process in which regions are regularly checked and reassessed. The grading system resembles the Michelin star ratings for restaurants. The new rating replaces the first Reference Site designations made in 2013, during which the Northern Netherlands received the then-highest score of two times three stars. The new four star rating is even more unique, says Daan Bultje, director of HANNN.
“This year the European Commission raised the bar even higher because we had to prove that with our activities a larger part of the population could be reached. I am proud that we have been able to achieve this, and that the European Commission has confirmed that the Northern-Netherlands made the right choice in focusing on Healthy Ageing as its main theme. The maximum score confirms what we already knew to be true: when it comes to innovation in Healthy Ageing, there is no better place to turn to than the Northern Netherlands.”
The status is not just a recognition of past achievements of the Northern-Netherlands, but also creates expectations for the future, according to Bultje:
“Reference sites are increasingly important to the European Commission. It aims to involve Reference Sites in training activities in lesser developed regions, and to stimulate the European transfer of innovative practices developed in the Reference Sites. For the Northern Netherlands, this means that healthcare innovations that are developed here have a better chance of being successfully adopted and scaled up throughout Europe. This presents great opportunities for small and medium enterprises ambitious to spread their wings internationally.
With this status they can prove that their services and products are embedded in a region which delivers cutting edge innovation in the field of healthy ageing. In this regard, our award is not just an achievement for the region, but for the whole of the Netherlands.”