TRS.20.045 – Borders in times of crisis

Route: Towards resilient societies

Cluster question: 034 Given the changing composition of the Dutch population (ageing, contracting in some places, and influenced by migration), how robust is the welfare state?

Dutch border regions and their citizens are faced with a declining population and receding economies, causing structural problems regarding the access to education, health care and safety and the development of living standards. Therefore, for many years cross-border cooperation has been sought and established in the fields of health, security and economy. Despite the extent of national competences, border regions were able to innovate and cooperate across and along borders in order to improve living conditions in their regions. Yet, still difficulties and differences remain. As a result, society in the border region is to a lesser extent armed against crises such as Covid-19 and its consequences for the economy and health care. The same applies to the success of emergency response and disaster management. During the Covid-19 pandemic, national administrative-political and medical measures were incompatible with one another, causing obstacles in the border regions. Cooperation that had previously been obvious was suddenly no longer self-evident, while the need for it became ever more pertinent. The level of cooperation and regulation between Member States and cross-border regions was insufficient to face the severity of Covid-19. Recent crises therefore only emphasise these shortcomings in both the resilience of the society in border regions as the governance cooperation and its conditions thereof. In order to enhance the economic potential of border regions and the resilience of the society in border regions against future crises, research is needed to identify innovative ways to take advantage of their characteristics and location with neighbouring countries. This proposed research brings up these innovative changes and provides the necessary conditions to do so, thereby enabling a safe, developed and healthy environment in the border regions of the Netherlands. The project will do so by bringing together partners from scientific, administrative and professional level along all national borders.


border region, Cross-border cooperation, health care, socio-economic development

Other organisations

AEBR, CAPHRI, CBS, Euregio Scheldemond, Fontys Hogescholen, Gemeente Enschede, Gemeente Winterswijk, Hogeschool NHL Stenden, ITEM, Leiden University (LEI), METRO, Ministerie van VWS, Ockam IPS, Provinicie Oost-Vlaanderen, Provinicie Zeeland, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG), ROA, Universiteit Twente (UT), Veiligheidsregio Zeeland, Veiligheidsregio Zuid-Limburg (afdeling EMRIC), Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation Institute for Transnational and Euregional cross-border cooperation and Mobility (ITEM) / Maastricht University (UM)
Name Prof. dr. H. (Hildegard) Schneider