What are NUTS codes?

When you get increasingly involved with tenders the word NUTS comes up more and more. But what does it mean? Except for a reference to someone or something a bit mad or a small nibble to eat. NUTS stands for Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (now you know immediately why they use the abbreviation). It's designed to reference the different subdivisions of countries for statistical purposes. They are used in tender notices to easily specify the area the notice activities are located. The NUTS-system works with three levels. NUTS 1, NUTS 2 and NUTS 3. Overall you can assume that the first level covers a larger population than the third level. The NUTS standard is developed and regulated by the European Union, and therefore only covers the member states of the EU in detail.

How does it work?

Each country as a whole is designated with the two-letter country code from the ISO 3166-1* standard. In normal language: the two-letter code you see on the back of most cars. NL stands for the Netherlands, UK for United Kingdom, DE for Germany. Behind the two-letter code comes a numeric code for each level of the NUTS system. For the biggest part the system uses the existing administrative divisions in a country. (Think provinces, counties, municipalities)

To make it a little more clear, we took a code to clarify. For example the code NL332

NL - The first two letters reference the country. In this case the Netherlands

NL3 - The first number is the first subdivision of a country. In this case Western Netherlands, which is one of the 4 NUTS 1 areas

NL33 - Second subdivision of a country. In this case South Holland. One of the 12 provinces in NUTS 2

NL332 - Third subdivision of a country. In this case the The Hague area. Which is one of the 40 COROP-regions that are used for NUTS 3

Very nice but how can it help me?

How can NUTS-codes be helpful in your tender search? As of 2008 the EU requires public bodies to use NUTS codes in their tenders to have a uniform notion of the location of the tender. So if you know the area in which you're interested, simply click on the corresponding NUTS-code and all the tenders in that area will be displayed. On the Tender-it site you can even set a location radius to cover the area surrounding your selected NUTS-area.

We hope this blog helped you to understand the world of NUTS-codes a little bit better. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at info@tender-it.com

*ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 codes are two-letter country codes defined in ISO 3166-1, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), to represent countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest.