The onset of formulating strategies and policies regarding the bioeconomy can be, at least partly, attributed to the publication of the bioeconomy policy agenda by the OECD in 2009. The aim of this study is to analyse selected national strategies and policies regarding the development of a bioeconomy and to clarify similarities and differences between them. The article presents a comparative overview of the strategies and policies for developing an advanced bioeconomy in the EU, USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany and Australia. The documents analysed are in most cases national strategies or policies. The structures and aims of these documents vary and the analysis is further complicated by the terms “bioeconomy” and “bio-based economy” having as yet no clear definition, a point which is discussed in some depth in this article. In the documents analysed, strategies and policies on how to promote the bioeconomy are often presented based on the prerequisites of the country in focus; the need for increased research, development and demonstrations in the area is thus particularly stressed. The main emphasis is often to enhance the economy of a nation and provide new employment and business possibilities, whereas the aspects of sustainability and resource availability are addressed only to a limited extent in many of the documents.