5

A Man-Made Blue Zone in the Netherlands

"The term Blue Zone comes from National Geographic researching areas where people live long lives. These areas include Okinawa, Sardinia and a few others."

Since 2006 the mission and vision of the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) have been dedicated to the topic of Healthy Ageing. This includes a focus on the specific demographics of the Northern Netherlands and more broadly on the projections of a globally ageing population with enormous consequences for many societies. Because these consequences go beyond healthcare and medicine alone, the University of Groningen – a university with a strong research record – has adopted Healthy Ageing as one of its three societal themes¹. The Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands (HANNN) has been formed as a ‘triple-helix’ network organisation, with partners in research institutes, government bodies and business. Together we are building the 75-acre Healthy Ageing Campus as the locus of our core activities. International networks have been developed to carry out research and educational activities within the framework of the Alliance of Healthy Ageing. This chapter focuses on our values, objectives and challenges, and our ambitions to achieve a maximal societal impact by building the Future of Health, with the realisation of a man-made Blue Zone in the three Northern provinces of the Netherlands as the ultimate goal.

An extract from A Man-Made Blue Zone in the Netherlands by Folkert Kuipers, in Breakthrough: From Innovation to Impact, Volume 2.

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