The Netherlands, the greenest city in the world

The Dutch economy is addicted to gas. An addiction we can hardly get rid of. Eventually we need the billions of euros to keep the ‘BV Nederland’ running. Revenues are declining, so we need to find a new business model. However there is a need for a vision. Based on the most important trends in the world, the great market demand, opportunities and our own core qualities. A vision that lasts longer than a government term. A vision that has nothing to do any more with the party politics, but with the economic opportunities for our country in a dynamic, international playing field.

Worldwide, 180,000 people move from the countryside to the city every day. It is estimated that within 15 years over 60% of the world’s population will be living in metropolitan areas. Many of these areas are located in a delta. The presence of water in the delta makes food production, trade and transportation possible.

Where so many people live and work in close proximity, more and more food will also be produced. Because of the need for ‘mouths’ to be fed and the available workforce, but also the ability to recycle water and to create new energy flows. Efficient energy and water flows, sustainable food production, green and clean neighbourhoods, decentralised, short supply chains, will all transform these cities into drivers of sustainability and radical innovation: Sustainable Urban Deltas. Quality of life will become more important than economic growth in these metropolitan areas. Urban consumers do not want any more air pollution or stinking sewers. The 21st century will be the century of cities.

The Netherlands itself is like a city in a river delta: with a single area of conurbation from north of Alkmaar to south of Eindhoven. With that image in mind, the ‘Green Heart’ of the Netherlands is just a ‘park’ and the Westland region is ‘urban farming’. Today, the Netherlands is the greenest city in the world.

This allows us to make a statement that will resonate worldwide: together we can create a new future outlook for our country. A green city full of outstanding examples in the areas of water, food, energy and knowledge. In that way, we can be an example to all the world’s large metropolises. We can then be a showcase for magnificent, efficient and sustainable living and working environments, with smart logistics systems, where all kinds of decentralised energy solutions are used and wastewater from the city is recycled for the production of food, amongst other things.

The Netherlands needs a shared ambition once more, a theme that inspires and really unites the leading sectors in the economy! It is only in this way that we can make an international statement that we can excel in a single area; the creation of a future-oriented and socially responsible way of life in a Sustainable Urban Delta. And what about the Government? They can focus on what really needs to happen: export financing, providing guarantees, investing in things that will provide a return in the future and showcasing the Netherlands to the world as a single large reference project. The Netherlands can play a major role in the global changes towards a more sustainable world. We already have so many outstanding examples that we can show the world!




Join the movement!

Meiny outlines her image of the Netherlands as a sustainable delta: “The Netherlands can make an International statement, but to do that we have to develop a new vision together. Together we must create a new future outlook for our country, as the ‘greenest city in the world’.

What can we do:

1. As a country, we can choose one ambition, one story that will bring all the sectors together, that will unite supply and demand. Something that both Government and Industry can promote. It will be our joint programme. As a country and as the entrepreneurial Netherlands.
2. To establish a connection with the issues facing large cities, reference projects are required. Let’s show people what we can do. We have plenty of outstanding examples – let’s showcase them. Together they tell the story of the Sustainable Urban Delta and behind these outstanding examples, of course, there are the companies responsible for them. These companies will therefore also become more widely known.

3. The government will really need to do its utmost to facilitate the conditions necessary for doing business on an international scale.

The story of the Sustainable Urban Delta is not finished. It is something that we can work on together, and which is in fact already being worked on right now, at a national level! This information will also be available on this website in the near future.

Meiny is looking for outstanding examples that will help her tell the story. Are you aware of a suitable example that could help us continue this story and showcase all the reference projects that we have today in the Netherlands? If so, let us know about it by using the form to send us your inspiring example.



About Meiny Prins

Meiny Prins is the CEO of the family owned company Priva in De Lier. She joined Priva in 2002, before which she was the founder and director of a successful design and communications company. She is the founder of the Sustainable Urban Delta ideas. Meiny Prins is proclaimed Businesswoman of the Year 2009 and with Priva she received the first CleanTech Star of WNF (World Wildlife Fund).

Meiny devotes herself to promoting sustainability, innovation and internationalization. She is a much sought-after authority in this field. With her clear, inspirational message on sustainability, she bridges the divide between companies, governments and sectors.

Meiny Prins is, among other, member of the Dutch Trade & Investment Board and the Committee for Entrepreneurship and Finance. She is closely involved in the so-called Top Sectors in the Netherlands, in particular on the themes Water, Energy and Horticulture.

In 2014 Meiny Prins started the ‘Sustainable Urban Delta’ initiative, a collection of treasures in the field of water, food, energy and mobility. With Sustainable Urban Delta she shows how many integrated solutions are already there to contribute to solving the problems of the metropolises worldwide.

Meiny writes a monthly column in the Dutch financial newspaper ‘Het Financieele Dagblad’ which can be found at her personal website.

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