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  •     Cross-Border Business Development
  •       Lector

    Born 'Op de Grensberg' on the Dutch-German border, growing up in the Dutch-German border region and then obtaining his PhD on the topic of cross-border cooperation – these are the ingredients that have made Vincent a 'borderlander', someone who sees the border as an opportunity and acts accordingly. For him, being on the road every day in the Euregion is all in a day’s work.  

    Vincent has been working at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Venlo since 2014. In the period 2014-2018, he worked as a PhD candidate lecturer at the Fontys Crossing Borders Research group (‘lectorate’); in that period he wrote his dissertation as a PhD student at the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research (part of Radboud University). In 2018 he was assigned research coordinator of the same research group. On May 1, 2019 the research group Cross-Border Business Development was started within the Fontys International Business School with Vincent leading the team. 

    As professor, Vincent is responsible for leading the research team and setting up and implementing applied research in the field of cross-border cooperation. He ensures that the euregional idea is further embedded within the Bachelor programmes of FIBS and in the region by conducting research together with colleagues, students and the work field, organising euregional business meetings and setting up and implementing cross-border projects. 

    In addition to his position as lecturer, Vincent is also the Chairman of the German-Dutch Business Club Maas Rhein and Chairman of the Commission Internationalisering van Ondernemend Venlo.

    Lectural address Dr Vincent Pijnenburg

    Watch the lectoral address given by Dr Vincent Pijnenburg on November 20, 2019 below.

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    Ambience photo Fontys


    Vincent Pijnenburg

    +31 620682859

  •       About the research group

    The opportunities offered by the international character of the region around Venlo are still insufficiently exploited. For SMEs in the Euregion to benefit from cross-border opportunities, it is necessary to make the market on the other side of the national border accessible and reachable, both for (future) employees and employers. The research group 'Cross-Border Business Development' supports students and companies in exploring and taking advantage of international opportunities, which contributes to an attractive economic business climate for both employees and employers. 

    Pillars of the research group 

    The research group CBBD focuses on cross-border opportunities for both employers and employees. A distinction is made between six pillars:

    • Cross-Border Sustainable Business Development Projects that focus on the viability and sustainability of applications within the business community.
    • Cross-Border Employee Retention Projects that focus on employing and retaining young professionals in the cross-border region.
    • Cross-Border Labour Mobility Projects that focus on the cohesion of the labour market on the Dutch and German sides of the border.
    • Cross-Border Culture, Branding & Identity Projects that focus on the impact of the proximity of the national border on culture within the business community and branding of cross-border regions.
    • Cross-Border Strategic Governance Projects that focus on cross-border regional economic cooperation.
    • Cross-Border Economic Dashboard Projects that focus on the strength of the economy and business in the Dutch-German border country.

    Under the heading research projects, you can see which German-Dutch projects fall under which pillar.

    Each semester students perform research assignments for our research group. You can find more information on the topics here.

    Mission and vision

    The Netherlands and Germany are neighbouring countries with strong economic ties. This interdependence of two markets is particularly evident in cross-border areas. For this reason, it is of great importance that we (eu)regionalise education, and thus target both the Dutch and the German (sales) market.

    Partly for this reason, the Fontys International Business School (FIBS) set up the research group Cross-Border Business Development (CBBD) in 2019. The aim of the CBBD research group is to connect scientific research and practice in line with the general objectives of Fontys. The research group's team builds a cross-border bridge between higher education and the business community, government institutions and civil society organisations . In this way, the research group is developing as a pivot in the Euregional network of knowledge institutions, companies and organisations and governments in the Venlo region and the adjacent Lower Rhine area.

    With its Euregional focus, Fontys Venlo has a unique position in Dutch education. Due to its location on the border, the Dutch-German composition of students and teachers, and the many partners in the Euregional business community, Fontys Venlo is able to respond perfectly to what the market needs, i.e. cross-border activity.

    By bringing highly educated people into contact with both sides of the border, the CBBD research group contributes to the ambition to retain highly educated people in the cross-border region around Venlo. That is desperately needed in view of the brain drain in the Euregion. This removes the feeling of 'having to move' to the Randstad or Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. If you include both sides of the border, there are just as many jobs within reach from the Euregion as from most urban metropolises. The research group CBBD trains 'borderlanders' who will be able to function in the European labour market in the 21st century; professionals who are able to find their way on both sides of the Dutch-German border. CBBD realises this through cross-border research, education and cross-border activities and projects.

  •       Research team

    The research team of the Cross-Border Business Development lectorat consists out of a wide range of professionals, each bringing his or her own expertise to the team.
    Ambience photo Fontys

    Born and raised in Mönchengladbach, Germany, I grew up with frequent journeys to the Dutch side of the border, sparking an early interest in the Dutch “manier van leven”.

    Being a region-enthusiast, I dedicate my research towards digitalisation and sustainability in cross-border relevant topics, aiming to foster prosperity of the region on both sides of the border.

    Currently, I am Associate Professor in the research group CBBD. Furthermore, I lecture on topics such as e-marketing, marketing management, entrepreneurship, market analysis and e-commerce in the MBA, MSc in Business and Management and BSc. in Marketing Management. I am also the programme manager of the MSc programme that Fontys runs in cooperation with the University of Plymouth.

    Before joining Fontys International Business School, I studied in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, UK and Poland. After my studies, I worked for medium-sized IT companies in insurance, network engineering and RFID technology as well as IT-Consulting sectors in marketing, sales and business development.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    The border has something magical, but its (apparent) absence is even more magical, if possible. My studies and working life have always been dominated by cross-border work. My studies European (Business) Studies & International management have laid the foundation for this. During my working life, I worked for large international companies in Sales & Marketing and Human Resources. I have worked a lot with expat and global mobility issues, especially in the border region between the Netherlands and Germany. In addition, I have worked in Germany for several years.

    Within the CBBD research group, I am project leader of the High Potentials Crossing Borders Project (INTERREG V) and a PhD Candidate. I am mainly involved in cross-border cooperation between colleges of higher education, governments and companies in the Euregion Rhine-Meuse-North and the consequences for the Euregional labour market. We can make even more use of the opportunities offered by the border, and that is what I am committed to.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    As a project employee of the High Potentials Crossing Borders project, I have been asked to contribute to the research group Cross-Border Business Development. I will contribute my Euregional network with the business community in order to intensify the cross-border cooperation between education and enterprises.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    As a political scientist, I focus on international relations and my study of Dutch has given me a special focus at a very young age. Intercultural communication has always been both passion and power! Since 2012 I have worked for Fontys, mainly as a language teacher in all three streams. At the end of 2015, I was asked to become a teacher for High Potentials Crossing Borders. Here I mainly took care of the participating students and the applications. Since May 2020, I am also involved in the Euregio project for university cooperation. I will mainly focus on cooperation in designing classrooms, but also on practical matters such as cross-border public transport.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    Since April 2019, I have worked for the project Euregional Campus Limburg Niederrhein. Together with the Hochschule Niederrhein, we are working to show young people study and work opportunities in the region AND to look across the border.

    As a teacher/supervisor at FIBS and as the person responsible for the Fontys campus in Kempen, I work and live in this Euregional environment and am still often surprised by the undiscovered possibilities (hidden champions, cool start-ups) on our doorstep.

    With an international education and a lot of German-Dutch work experience, this is a project in which I recognise myself. At an early age, I crossed the border myself and used the possibilities that were offered to me in an international D-NL environment. I would like to give this experience further to young people in the project.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    With a background in food retail marketing and marketing communication consultancy in agribusiness, my passion for food and where it comes from come together. Over the past four years, I have taught consumer behaviour and food retail marketing in the broadest sense of the word. Both at school and in projects with companies, I combined the skills from the work field with theoretical knowledge, the fresh opinion and way of working of students and my own knowledge and experiences. This combination created an instructive environment for all parties involved. 

    In my research, I will mainly focus on cross-border consumer flows and their behaviour in food retail on both sides of the border.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    Cross-border thinking was a big part of my life: since my birth and childhood living in "abroad" Belgium, I ended up in Germany after my studies in Maastricht. In the meantime, I am working in "my own" country again, as a lecturer at International Business. 

    As a member of the knowledge circle for the research group, I want to connect research and education. My interest focuses on the economy in the border region: Who is successful, and what contributes to this success? And what role do governments play in this? A broad field of research, to which I would like to contribute.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    As a student, I attended a bilingual German-French school in the administrative district of the former German capital Bonn. Thinking beyond national borders in a European context has always been a guideline for me. Helping companies and employees to identify opportunities in cross-border business activities and to remove obstacles that stand in the way of seizing these opportunities is an exciting and meaningful challenge that we tackle in our Cross-Border Business Development department. As an economist with a PhD, my focus is on quantitative, empirical analyses of economic activities and opportunities in the border region.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    On behalf of the International Marketing course, I am attached to the research group and I will be working on the internationalisation scan for the Dutch and German markets. I will also be working on cross-border sustainability issues between the Netherlands and Germany. As a member of the Business Club Maas Rhein, I will pick up and expand my network in the Netherlands and Germany within the framework of the Dutch and German Eugional cooperation.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    Like many of my colleagues, I grew up near the border. I still remember well how we were waved through the border or stopped by a customs officer, usually my uncle, to go shopping with the German Mark wallet in my pocket, or to go swimming. 

    Within the research group, I will work on two projects. The first is "Mind the digital Gap". The objective of this project is to gain insight into (the difference) in the degree of digitization of SMEs in the German-Dutch border area. Is there a difference in e.g. digital skills or views on digital developments on both sides of the border? And what exactly are these differences. At the moment we focus on the Venlo region and Kreis Viersen. The second project is the "Cross-Border Game Lab" in which we will develop "serious games" with students commissioned by Dutch or German companies. A serious game has another primary goal than just the fun of playing. For example, the main goal is to convey a message, recruit or select, learn or gain insight.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    Living and growing up in the border region shaped the course of my life. As I like the Dutch culture, I studied political science, economics and Dutch at Westphalian University of Münster (WWU). In 2004, I completed my PhD degree in political science and economics. Then I studied and worked in different European countries (e.g. Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands).  

    In 2010, I founded my own Innovation and Communication agency “IdeenPaten” (Godfathers of Ideas). We offer all kinds of innovation and communication consultancy. In 2013 I started to work as a Lecturer for Marketing and Innovation Skills at Fontys International Business School (FIBS) in Venlo. Since 2014 I also worked for the Research Cross-Border Business Development (till 2019 Fontys Crossing Borders). I initiated different cross-border projects and did research on the meaning of sustainability culture for companies, fake news and digital skills in a cross-border context.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    I grew up in the province of Limburg. Together with my parents I was often “on the road” in the Euregion. Already as a kid, we frequently visited Aachen, Liege, Hasselt, les Ardennes, Düsseldorf, the Kempen, Cologne, Tongeren, the Eiffel, Eupen, Verviers and of course our own province of Limburg.

    Being raised multilingual and, as a kid, not aware of the fact that all the cities and regions we visited were situated cross-border in three different countries I was surprised when I learned during the geography lessons at primary school that “my region” was situated in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.

    In my first two jobs, an SME in electronics and a large manufacturer of ceramics, I travelled a lot, again crossing borders. Marketing, sales, communication and product development were my main tasks. But the Euregion apparently was still in the back of my mind.

    For the last 15 years, I have been active in a wide variety of projects in our Euregion. The main topic has always been Cross-Border Cooperation between start-ups, SMEs, research institutes, government organisations, Interreg, etc. At CBBD, I will be working on the projects “Grensranking Venlo” and “ Cross-Border Circular Institute”.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    As a born Friezin, I came to live in Venlo four years ago for my studies where I had to deal with the phenomenon of cross-border consumers and the ease with which you just cross the border to visit a restaurant or store. Through my graduation internship, I ended up at the Fontys research group CBBD where I further studied the German border shoppers. From July 2020, I started working for the research group where I contribute to various projects.

    Ambience photo Fontys

    Since January 2015 I have been supporting several (INTERREG) projects, including the research group Cross-Border Business Development and High Potentials Crossing Borders, on an administrative and organisational level. I grew up 'on the moor' in Venlo a stone's throw from the German border. We often crossed the border to go shopping or eat. I like the fact that in my current job I often cross the border again and discover new things over and in Germany.

    Ambience photo Fontys

  •       Events

    The research group organises events on a regular basis. These include seminars, workshops, guest lectures and excursions. The aim of the events is to bring students, teachers and the work field into the business in the German-Dutch border area. Within each event, a cross-border theme is central. This can vary from agribusiness to Dutch-German trade agreements and from logistics to social security. Interesting themes are picked up in the Euregional business community, but students can also bring topics. In this way, we respond to what is going on in the German-Dutch border area.

    Would you like to stay up to date? Send an email to You will then receive an invitation without obligation for each event. Everyone is welcome.

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