Five years Innovation Cluster Drachten

05 maart 2019 | Growing from five to 18 high-tech companies spread across the Northern Netherlands within five years is a great achievement!

But it is not the number of members that counts but the close collaboration between our companies and knowledge institutes, governments and industry associations.

Together with all vocational colleges (MBO) and universities of applied science in the Northern Netherlands and the University of Groningen, we set up special programs and arrange attractive internships for technology talents. By offering research students from the University of Groningen the opportunity to do part of their Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering in Drachten, we ensure that they come into contact with our high-tech companies. We also facilitate these contacts through our high-tech shared facility building, where students can experience that you do not have to leave the Northern Netherlands to have a challenging and interesting high-tech career.

ICD partners

Our partnership is now also getting national attention. The economists of ING describe our ecosystem as the economic engine of the region. We work together with:

  • All technology programs at vocational colleges (MBO), universities of applied science (HBO) and research universities (WO) as well as with various student and alumni associations
  • Local and regional governments
  • Umbrella organizations for primary education in Fryslân,
  • Many other partners such as FME, RoSF, IWCN, TopDutch, Dutch Technology Week, Technet, VNO-NCW-Noord, etc.


Working for one of our companies means contributing to developing solutions for the challenges of the future. We call this the ‘Big 5 of High Tech’: 3D metal printing, remote sensoring and big data, robotics, visual intelligence and all-electric propulsion. We do this by using state-of-the-art product, ICT, and process technologies or developing them if not yet available. We achieve this through the unique pre-competitive collaboration of our R&D departments. This collaboration leads to over 50 new product introductions a year worldwide. These products save human lives, make complex systems easy to use, are perfectly attuned to the wishes and needs of individual consumers, or make data essential to the quality of our food more accessible.

Our partnership is the heart of the Smart Factory region of North-Western Europe.

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