One of these signs on a mound of dirt says…”this is the only land you get from us”.
The Dutch farmers are not playing games. They are passionate, persistent, and patriotic…they won’t let the government steal their land!
The following article from NRC (translated to English)
Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing and Spatial Planning, CDA) calls it the ‘major renovation of the Netherlands’. The radical redevelopment of the city and countryside that will start after the summer and cost many billions. Until 2050 and beyond, a ‘spatial puzzle’ will have to be put together in which various social issues are addressed. Think of: housing shortage and asylum reception, climate change and energy transition, agriculture and nitrogen, environment and nature, traffic and transport and the economic development of the Netherlands.
Twelve years ago, the Rutte I cabinet relinquished national control of urbanization and landscape policy and handed it over to the provinces and municipalities. Now the Rutte IV cabinet is going to steer again because the problems are acute. The major renovation will be a battle for space, because the Netherlands is too small for all wishes, plans and ambitions. “Not everything is possible and not everything is possible everywhere,” says De Jonge.
What will the Netherlands look like after 2050 – if the plans succeed? In October, the twelve provinces must make plans for both national and regional goals. A year later, the central government and the provinces make new agreements on area development. In 2024, the tightened National Environmental Vision (NOVI), the government’s long-term vision on spatial planning, must be implemented. coming into effect.
The contours of the major renovation are already taking shape. The government’s ambition is known to build 900,000 homes by 2030, two-thirds of which must be affordable rent or purchase. Many homes are planned in the west, such as in the Amsterdam region (175,000 to 220,000 homes) and the southern Randstad (170,000). But there must also be more homes in, for example, the Arnhem-Nijmegen region (70,000), urban Brabant (94,000), the Zwolle region (40,000) and the Groningen-Assen area (21,000 homes). The Lelylijn, a planned train connection between Lelystad and Groningen, should make the north more accessible.
“We cannot all continue to live together in the Randstad,” says Minister De Jonge. “Because it is too expensive and too busy, and we then consume too much space there for, for example, nature, agriculture and the economy.”
Climate change is also a reason to build more outside the low-lying west. “It may be wise” to “increase development in the southern, eastern and northern parts of the Netherlands (…) in areas that are less prone to flooding”, says a letter to parliament from May drily .
One sentence from the coalition agreement is also far-reaching : “Water and soil are guiding in spatial planning.” What can be built where will depend on, for example, local flooding, subsidence, heat stress, pollution and nature damage.
“It’s not just about housing construction, but also about questions such as: where can you build any new nuclear power plants?” says Meindert Smallenbroek, director of the Union of Water Boards. “It’s about choices for hundreds of years.”
The Netherlands must continue to defend itself against the water and become ‘climate-proof’. Sea and river dikes will be raised and reinforced where necessary. Risk areas must be able to drain water in the event of extreme rainfall or flooding, such as in Limburg last year. Water buffers must also be created to supplement the freshwater supply; the high sandy soils dried up, the coast and polders became salinated.
The subsidence in peat meadow areas, once drained for agriculture, is leading to sagging buildings and infrastructure. Water boards have to pump harder and harder and dried-up peat releases greenhouse gases. Central government and provinces must choose where agriculture and housing are still responsible, such as in Southwest Friesland. Smallenbroek: “That will affect farmers and the sectors and society around them. Those are almost cultural interventions. I think that is sometimes underestimated.”
The nitrogen approach will lead to shrinkage, sustainability and redistribution of agriculture, which currently covers half of the Netherlands. The areas that are most suitable for agriculture in terms of water, soil, nature and nitrogen according to the government are mainly Zeeland, the north of North Holland, Friesland and Groningen, Flevoland – and Gelderland and Brabant much less.
At sea and on land, space is also needed for the extraction, storage and transport of sustainable energy, from wind turbines and solar panels. The government is considering large ‘industrial clusters’ at specific, safe locations, preferably near railway lines, waterways, high-voltage cables or pipe networks.
Major economic and logistics hubs must become more sustainable for a climate-neutral Netherlands in 2050. Such as the ports of Rotterdam and the Terneuzen-Vlissingen region, as well as the North Sea Canal area in the Amsterdam metropolis. Schiphol must also transform, while at the same time retaining space in a densely populated residential area.
Cities, in turn, must switch from natural gas to sustainable energy and become greener to combat heat. It is going to be penetrating into the subsoil to combine trees as well as cable and heat networks. The centers of cities will become more car-free and fast electric (bicycle) traffic will require extra space on the public road.
If you want a high-quality knowledge economy as a country, you should also opt for a high-quality living and working environment, says professor of landscape architecture Adriaan Geuze of TU Delft. “Quality and beautiful cultural landscape, a healthy environment and efficient mobility are the basis for attractive cities and innovative workplaces. Look at Switzerland or Denmark”
Such a high-quality landscape also requires that the government now assumes control, according to Geuze. “It’s about existential, integral choices, such as agricultural reform, water management, a high-speed rail line or new data centers. You have to guarantee that democratically and that is what parliament is for.”
The major renovation will therefore have to start with breaking the current practice. According to Geuze, spatial planning has become ‘an inscrutable lobby’ of interest groups with the (local) government, as a result of which the general interest has come under pressure. “The Netherlands has the best planning tradition in the world. But at the moment we are at a complete impasse. It is extra-parliamentary, it is a democratic deficit.”