Top sectors


Today’s societal challenges require mission-driven innovations. Chemical industries in the Dutch Top Sector ChemistryNL have initiated many innovations to address such challenges. They do so through multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral work in the fields of health, energy, industry, recycling, plastics and transport.

Sustainable chemistry

Innovations in the chemistry sector facilitate the Netherlands towards becoming a low-CO2 economy. This is done through the electrification of industry and use of renewables in heavy-duty transport, for example.

The long-term storage of electricity by electrochemical hydrogen production is a promising option. This reduces the cost of balancing demand and renewable generation.

Chemistry in the Netherlands also develops advanced smart materials. These include composites to make electric public transport possible, textiles that need less frequent washing, and solar cells with higher efficiencies and returns.


Precision medication enables drugs to target exact locations within the human body. Dutch Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Ben Feringa created carrier molecules, for example, to fight tumours. These ‘nanocars’, deliver drugs through the bloodstream.

At present, the world is focussing on developing vaccines to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Chemistry is at the centre of pharmaceutical research. It is also intensively involved in developing personal protective equipment.


Depending on their concentrations, harmful substances, such as fine dust, nitrogen, allergens, microplastics, contaminants and viruses cause differentiated degrees of harm. Evidence-based sensing can detect these levels, thus protecting our health and wellbeing.

Recycling innovation

As worldwide waste streams and the demand for plastics grow, chemistry is helping to build a circular economy. So further development and implementation of mechanical and chemical recycling have top priority.

Why Chemistry in the Netherlands

Chemistry in the Netherlands is at the heart of Europe’s largest chemistry cluster. It has world-class universities, an international industry, and a strong logistic position. Together they cooperate with the government to support vibrant innovative communities with a can-do mentality. ChemistryNL seeks partnerships with other leaders in sustainability, emission reduction and responsible care. The sector has an entrepreneurial, inventive spirit and international outlook. All this makes chemistry in the Netherlands a highly attractive partner in worldwide innovations.


We are working on highlighting the best examples of international collaboration which make a difference and will include them in our showcases in the future.


Discover more about Dutch chemistry at Top Sector Chemistry.