HollandBIO invited leading European experts and decision-makers from diverse sectors to join a debate on how to realise the potential of biorefineries, to share their experience in current projects and to test their ideas. What do we need to do to develop an economically vibrant biomaterials industry in Europe by 2020? How can we build ecosystems in strategic locations that stimulate innovation throughout the value chain? What are possible ways forward? All these questions were addressed by this platform for building the bioeconomy.