Our ambition: We strive to be the most circulair EU region in 2025

This is the circular story of Friesland

The first step: an analysis of the flow of raw materials

How and where do I begin with a circular economy? All members of the Circular Friesland Association have asked themselves that question at some point. And that’s a good thing. Because it was this important question that led seven companies to take the first step towards closing the loop. These companies, alongside the Province of Friesland and the Municipality of Leeuwarden, commissioned an analysis of the flow of (raw) materials in Friesland – the province where each winter brings hope for an Elfstedentocht (Eleven Cities Tour) on ice.  A province with bustling cities, picturesque villages and stunning nature. 

Circular opportunities and promising cycles

Which raw materials enter and leave Friesland? What adds energy to our province and where do we allow energy to be lost? These questions were pondered extensively, examined critically and mapped clearly by Metabolic and Urgenda, who combined the data – sometimes confronting, often promising – into an essential document.

The presentation of this report, including the analysis of material flows, inspired some hundred entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions, (social) organizations and governments with countless circular possibilities, Frisian opportunities and promising cycles. This event in early 2016 marked the birth of the Circular Friesland Association, founded by 25 different companies and organizations: a major step forward towards a circular Friesland.

It is unique to have so many organizations in one province committed to and working together on the circular economy. In Friesland, we don’t hesitate to put our plans in to actions. 

John Vernooij, chairman of the Circular Friesland en & director of Omrin

Accelerate your circular ambitions

Our members are our heroes  

What or who is Circular Friesland? you might wonder. We areour members. And our members are the heroes of the circular economy in our province. They are courageous enough to convert habits into circular ambitions and to connect with other companies, governments, knowledge institutions and (social) organizations. They do this by being honest about their motives and interests. By working together. By taking the leap. And by inspiring others to take circular steps as well. Or, as we like to say: by just doing it.

Construction is one of our key themes. Our members within this field of work, such as VDM Woningen, are taking remarkable circular steps.

Circular experts

As much as we need our members, we also need catalyzers, our theme specialists who act as a driving force for the circular economy. They discuss and work on sustainability and circularity with our members and other organizations. They identify bottlenecks, link supply and demand, are aware of sometimes rather complicated laws and regulations and able to give just the necessary push in the right direction.

Our theme specialists make an effort to help you discover and formulate your circular ambitions and brainstorm with you about how your organization can contribute to a better world. Every single one of them is a real doer, an expert in the field of circularity within his or her theme and capable of realizing added value to your organization.

Circular Friesland is an active and enthusiastic association that’s always open to new members. Any organization willing to participate and invest time can benefit from our extensive network. With loads of energy and optimism, we help speed up the transition towards a circular economy and explore cross-sectoral opportunities. We do all this in order to achieve our ultimate goal: an economy thriving with new activity, in which both people and nature are able to flourish.

Obstacles and challenges

We embrace challenges and actively look for the ‘tipping points’ that help us further towards a circular economy. Sure, the path towards our goal is not devoid of obstacles. But we face those head on and simply keep going, because we are determined to make our province the most circular region in 2025 and set an example for the next generation.

To be fair: our mission is at times more difficult than expected. Occasionally, we have no other choice but to accept that a plan or an idea fails, no matter how much we wanted it to succeed and no matter how much work we put into it. The transition towards a circular economy is complex. You solve one problem and the next one arises. But that’s okay. Because we know how to work together in Friesland. So we move on, continuously surprising ourselves and the broader community with creative, workable solutions that fit the economy of the future.

Taking steps together

Our members and theme specialists make it easier to ‘just’ start taking steps towards a circular economy. Sometimes these are big steps, often small ones. But each and every one is equally important. Because the combination of all those steps in the right direction is what makes the difference in the end. And every step, no matter how small, deserves to be celebrated with Frisian pride.

Our members and theme specialists make it easier to ‘just’ start taking steps towards a circular economy. Sometimes these are big steps, often small ones. But each and every one is equally important. Because all those steps in the right direction combined is what makes the difference in the end. And every step, no matter how small, deserves to be celebrated with Frisian pride.

Together we are heading towards a circular economy, replacing old habits with new and innovative methods that fit the economy of the future on our way. Step by step, we are making our region more and more sustainable and building a new, sustainable world. We grab each circular opportunity with both hands, as long as it contributes to our ideal: a 100% circular Friesland, with plenty of employment and thriving, future-proof companies and organizations.

Will you join us?

Westra, one of our members, specializes in upgrading clean green waste into high-quality quality compost and biomass.

Board members

Bestuur Circulair Friesland
Our board members, from left to right: John Vernooij, Alex Bonnema, Anja Kanters, Jelmer Algra & Jan van Iersel (former board member). Not in this photo: board member Erica Schaper.
  • Chairman: John Vernooij, director of Omrin
  • Treasurer: Jelmer Algra, chairman of the board of Rabobank Leeuwarden-Noordwest Friesland
  • Secretary: Anja Kanters, director of Donker Groep
  • Board member: Alex Bonnema, director of Caparis
  • Board member: Erica Schaper, member of the board NHL Stenden