Assignment ‘Corona research in the border region of North Rhine-Westphalia-Netherlands’ (NRW-NL)

Border regions have suffered from the impact of COVID-19. This assignment is thus designed to examine the effects of the spread of the corona virus in the border regions of North Rhine-Westphalia-Netherlands. Through analyzing the spread of the virus in these border regions, and also in comparison with the domestic patterns, this project intends to provide some insight in the relevant policy measures (e.g. closing borders), whether they are effective in controlling the spread of the virus. Hopefully, the insight gained from this assignment can be of use for future policy-making in handling similar cricisis.


The governments of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands are working closely together in coping with the COVID-19 crisis. A separate structure was developed for cross-border cooperation in the border region between the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia, the so-called GROS-Governance NRW-NL. This GROS-governance includes a steering committee in which the following board members participate:

  • Minister Holthoff-Porter of North Rhine-Westphalia,
  • State Secretary of the Netherlands Knops,
  • King commissioner Bovens for the province of Limburg on behalf of the 3 border provinces Overijssel, Gelderland and Limburg.

In its meeting in September 2020, this steering committee requested further investigations in connection with Corona (COVID-19). The Province of Limburg is the contracting party on behalf of the 3 parties mentioned above. Against this background, euPrevent Foundation was mandated to develop this assignment.


Final target group: citizens of the border regions of North Rhine-Westphalia-Netherlands and of the Belgium Limburg; experts from these border areas on COVID-19 related issues.

Duration: 15 December 2020 – 31 May 2021

Funding body: Province of Limburg as the contracting partner for this assignment.

Partners: euPrevent (lead), GGD South Limburg, Sciensano, University Maastricht

Focus of the assignment

This assignment focuses on analyzing the cross-border dimension of the virus spread in the border region of North Rhine-Westphalia-Netherlands, and the border region of Belgium Limburg is also included as a frame of reference.


Both qualitative and quantitative research will be carried out in this assignment. The main research questions to be examined include: whether there are significant differences in the spread of COVID-19 in the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia, and whether and how they are related to the different policy measures; whether the virus spread in the border regions is different than the spread domestically.

For the quantitative research, existing data sources will be used and various indicators will be included, such as the number of people tested, number of infections, number of hospital stays, and number of deaths related to COVID-19.

For the qualitative research, relevant experts in the border areas will be interviewed.


The two main results will be:

  1. A final report will be delivered to cover the result of the qualitative and quantitative study, to give answers to the central research questions, and to formulate some policy recommendations.
  2. Maps of the border area visualising the indicators that will be updated every two weeks as of March 2020.