The blue economy, an unknown strong pillar of the Flemish economy

The blue economy, an unknown strong pillar of the Flemish economy

Commissioned by the spearhead cluster De Blauwe Cluster, IDEA Consult made a systematic assessment of the economic and social importance of the blue economy in Flanders. The blue economy is defined as all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts. Conventional activities of the blue economy such as fishing, port activities, coastal tourism and shipping are well documented. However, the importance of activities developed in other sectors in relation to the blue economy has so far been underexposed. Based on an innovative impact method, IDEA Consult has made a consistent and integrated assessment of the blue economy in Flanders, both economically and socially.

The blue economy provides direct, indirect and induced almost 154,000 full-time jobs in Flanders and contributes to no less than 5.2% of the Flemish GDP. This makes the blue economy a strong holder for the Flemish economy and makes it comparable in size to the Flemish food industry or the Flemish chemical and life sciences cluster. In terms of social impact, mutually reinforcing links can be noted with the transition priorities Industry 4.0, Renewable Energy and Circular and Sustainable Economy, although the emphasis may differ per specific project or activity.

More detail about this study can be found on the website of the spearhead cluster The Blue Cluster:


  • Intermediate and private organisations