Regional governance of youth unemployment: A comparison of three Innovative Practices of Multi-Level Cooperation in the Netherlands

Ruud Muffels, Marc van der Meer, Sonja Bekker

Research output: Working paperAcademic


This chapter compares three innovative practices of regional governance within one country, the Netherlands. Its first goal is to draw lessons on how to improve the governance of youth unemployment or the (re)integration of youngsters in the labour market. These are considerd potentially innovative cases of regional governance because they mirror a shift from the classical way of governance that is subsidy-based, project oriented and coupled to financial incentives into a network-based collaborative and pro-active approach of multi-level and public-private governance. This is called a ‘Triple or Multi-Helix’ approach.The three Dutch cases are the “Brainport” initiative in the South-East part of the Netherlands that had its roots in the 1990s and early 2000s, the plan for a “Youth Unemployment Free Region” in Mid-Brabant that began in 2014 and the initiatives taken in the Amsterdam region to innovate Vocational Education and Training (VET) practices for improving the chances for ‘good’ transitions into the labour market which began in the late 2000s (Bekker et al. 2015b). The research was conducted in 2015, using a mixed-method design, combining desk research (document analysis), quantitative micro and macro data analyses and qualitative interviews. In both regions interviews were held with the main stakeholders at individual and group level (business, education, societal organisations, local government, young unemployed). For the Amsterdam region we studied the available information and consulted stakeholders about the way the development of the VET-agenda has been strengthened (see also Muffels and van der Meer 2016).Viewing the ideas and practices developed in the three cases, we have shown that the Brainport model of multi-helix cooperation has served as a model-case for the Amsterdam and Tilburg region, who deviated from this model by taking specific collaborative initiatives that pay credit to the dissimilarities and specificities of the regional youth labour market. The potential of the various multi-helix practices seems high although its success is difficult to judge given the short time horizon to date.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSTYLE Horizon 2020 Project
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2016


  • youth unemployment
  • youth guarantee
  • multi-helix cooperation
  • regional labor market
  • vocational training


Dive into the research topics of 'Regional governance of youth unemployment: A comparison of three Innovative Practices of Multi-Level Cooperation in the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this