Two-day event launches new French-Dutch partnerships for a Circular Economy

Last week the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in France hosted a successful two-day event on Circular Economy in Paris. Goal of the event was to strengthen French-Dutch relations and explore new actions to accelerate Circular Economy in required cross-border efforts. The event focused on buildings and their environment. Given that we spend 90% of our time in buildings, the impact of a change towards circularity can be big and positive. The fully booked event lived up to it’s potential and was a great success. If you missed the opportunity to participate, read this blog containing an overview of the programme and the insights gained. Questions? See contact information below.

Key event-figures

Two days (7 & 8 March), 80 participants, 25 French and 26 Dutch organizations (+/- 20% public and +/-80% private), two partners (Association ORÉE & Holland Circular Hotspot – HCH), under the aegis of 2 French Ministries (Ecological & Solidary Transition and Economy & Finance) and with participation of 2 Dutch Ministries (Infrastructure & Water Management and Economic Affairs & Climate), 56 speakers (27 French of which 11 pitches and 29 Dutch of which 20 pitches) on three locations (Ambassadors Residence, La Seine Musicale & La REcyclerie).


The first day took place at the Residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Paris. The seminar started with a word of welcome by the Head of the economic department and Innovation council for the Dutch Embassy in France Nico Schiettekatte. After this opening, Nathalie Boyer, Ambassadress for Circular Economy in France and Managing Director of ORÉE took her role as moderator for the day. Both the Dutch and French transition road-maps where discussed, namely the roadmap towards a Circular Economy by 2050 in the Netherlands and the intensive consultation process the French government is currently running on circular transition. Another topic discussed was the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Implemented in already 14 sectors by the French government and currently subject of exploration by the Dutch Government. A beautiful example of a good practice for both governments is the concept of the Green Deals. These (international) partnerships where discussed by the French Ministries for an Ecological and Solidary Transition and for Economy and Finance. The idea of the Green Deal originates from the Netherlands, and is embraced by the French under the name Engagements Croissance Verte.

The afternoon programme was opened by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in France, Pieter de Gooijer. He highlighted the running FR-NL business cooperation, also in the circular economy.  Subsequently Xavier Lemoine, Mayor of Montfermeil and Vice-President of Métropole du Grand Paris, and Antoinette Guhl, Deputy Mayor of Paris, presented the investments made in circularity in the Transition of the metropolitan territories of Paris, further elaborated in this whitepaper . Xavier Lemoine announced a green deal on circular purchasing. In the over two hour session that followed, pioneering solutions in building, infrastructure and materials where presented for both countries. Igor Bilimoff (UNICEM), Julie Benoit (Bellastock), Jullie Fournier (Eiffage) and Guillaume Jamet (Bouygues Immobilier) presented the French solutions. Mieke Verschoor (OVG Real Estate & EDGE Technologies), Harry Verhaar (Philips Lighting) and Chloé Eynard (MVRDV Architects) presented the Dutch integral solutions.

The end of the afternoon was reserved for the participants of both FR+NL delegations to present their circular solutions and technologies in a short pitch. With a cocktail-dinatoire the French and Dutch guests where given the possibility to network and identify their possible partners for future cooperation. A festive end to an inspiring first day at the Ambassadors Residence!

La Seine Musicale

The second day started with a guided visit to La Seine Musical (see picture above) before continuing to the final location: La REcyclerie. In this last location two presentations where given on how to integrate circular economy in construction by Virginie Allain (Bouygues Construction) and a circular approach to waste-handling by Patrice Furé (Syctom). Before a delicious eco-lunch was enjoyed, Marion Braks (NL Embassy) and Ruben Dubelaar (Holland Circular Hotspot) took a moment to reflect on the connections made and foundations laid during this event and how this could be followed up to maximize the resulting cooperation between France and the Netherlands in circular economy.

Observations for running and future cooperation

France and the Netherlands share an ambitious vision on Circular Economy as an integral solution for climate change. These ambitions together with big investments that are planned to be made in France for the next decade – 35 billion will be invested in urban en rural developments in different regions of France (e.g. Metropôle Grand Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon) – create many business opportunities for French solutions providers with Dutch partners offering creative and circular solutions in area/tech-development projects. Also the city of Paris put up a programme for the development of 50 circular projects in the run-up to the Olympics in 2024.

Paris, a city in the Making – Métropole Grand Paris

Grand PAris Ile de France

Source:  © Linkcity Ile-de-France

The French convinced institutionalized direction (with regulation on e.g. EPR – extended producer responsibility) and the Dutch creative entrepreneurial and integral solutions proved to be a fruitful combination. The challenge remains to find a mutual frame to start specific collaborations. Possible leads and ideas were presented by Marion Braks on the 2nd day of the event. One of these ideas is the Green Deal concept, a Dutch ‘polder’-invention, that was embraced by the French government in 2016 and baptized ‘Engagements Croissance Verte’. This concept proved to be a fruitful solution for entrepreneurs to address the barriers to innovation in legislation. Possible new Green Deals were presented (among others):

  • Accelerating Building Renovation (initiated by Philips in Buildings 2030 vision)
  • Circular Purchasing (training provided by the Dutch Government Agency for Infrastructure and Water Management – Rijkswaterstaat)

The idea of a 3 year “Tour de FR+NDs” as a framework for circular cooperation in the near future sounded plausible and will be explored by a.o. HCH, FME and ORÉE. Many participants showed interest in joining such an initiative and we are certain more will follow.

Circular Agenda 2018

  • 9 March         – BUILDINTEREST (PARIS – FR)
  • 13-16 March  – MIPIM-fair (CANNES – FR)
  • 15 March       – Olympic Games 2024 (THE HAGUE – NL)
  • 15-16 March  – Stations of the Future (PARIS – FR)
  • 11-13 April    – Rennovation tour NRP (MARSEILLE – FR)
  • 19 April         – BUILDINTEREST (AMSTERDAM – NL)
  • 23-28 April    – Intermat (PARIS – FR)
  • 17 May         – Circular Festival (NIJMEGEN – NL)
  • 23 May         – Veolia Circular (AMSTERDAM – NL)
  • 23 May         – Meet the buyers (Paris smart city) (PARIS – FR)
  • 6-7 June       – Biogaz (STRASBOURG – FR)
  • 7-8 June       – Circular Policy (THE HAGUE – NL)
  • 11-14 June    – Holland Circular Economy Week (ROTTERDAM – NL)
  • 14 June          – Circular Conference (WAGENINGEN – NL)
  • 27-28 June    – World Materials Forum (NANCY – FR)
  • 14 July         – Parade Mobility (FRIESLAND – NL)
  • tba                – Ademe Assises (PARIS – FR)
  • tba                – Circular NL day (DUNKERQUE – FR)
  • 4 October      – Estafette (ROTTERDAM – NL)
  • 10 October    – Sustainable day / Dag van de duurzaamheid (NL)
  • 21-29 Oct.      – Dutch Design Week (EINDHOVEN – NL)
  • 20-22 Nov.     – Recycle EXPO (GORINCHEM – NL)
  • 27-30 Nov.     – Pollutec (LYON – FR)
  • 5-8 Dec.          – Salonsimi (PARIS – FR)



If you have any questions regarding the above or other circular-related issues, don’t hesitate to contact Elena Bindels, circular contact at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in France.


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