The Ems Dollart Region (EDR) is the most northerly European border region along the Dutch-German border. It was established in 1977. The organization is based in the Dutch border village of Bad Nieuweschans. The office has developed into a Dutch-German meeting point, where cross-border meetings and other activities occur, as well as providing a launching point for many exciting cross border projects.
The association consists of approximately 100 members including: public institutions from the provinces Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland, as well as from East-Frisia, the Emsland, the Cloppenburg region and other bordering regions.
Throughout the years, numerous contacts and networks have been established between the people, businesses and organizations on both sides of the European inner-border. As a result of this closer interaction, participants realise that there remain significant obstacles to overcome. Differences in legal systems present the most significant obstacle to cross-border cooperation, but also differing cultures and customs can add to the difficulties of cross border action. The EDR has established itself as the primary source in the region when dealing with questions of cross-border cooperation. In the future, the advantages of an ever-closer union need to be recognised and utilised.
Since its establishment, the EDR has shown interest in the areas of planning, infrastructure, culture and developing the regional economy. However, the EDR places special emphasis on its efforts to develop and intensify the contacts between the populations on both sides of the German-Dutch border.
In order to reach these goals, the EDR provides financial assistance for regional initiatives. The basis for these activities is provided by the contributions of EDR members.
In addition, the EDR receives financial support from the Dutch provinces of Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland, as well as project associated contributions from the German federal state, Lower-Saxony.
An important contributor to the activities of the EDR is the European Union, which contributes to cross-border activities as a part of its INTERREG program. This program provides subsidies to projects in the following areas: economy, technology and innovation, sustainable regional development, as well as integration and society.