Increasing mobility in a more sustainable country

Next year, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment will be investing 6.2 billion euros in infrastructure, in order for the Netherlands to maintain its position among the top infrastructures in the world. In 2018, the road network will be expanded by 268 kilometres of new lanes, and attention will be focused on the development of new technologies that can boost traffic circulation. The Paris climate agreement will be implemented through efforts such as those aimed at cleaner transport innovations. Between Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Eindhoven, the new timetable that will come into effect in December features six rather than four intercity trains every hour.

In 2018, we will map out how we can further improve the Netherlands’ resilience against extreme weather ensuing from the changing climate. This year’s Delta Programme is the first to encompass a Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation, involving a strategy for minimising the impact of waterlogging, heat, drought, and urban flooding at the local and regional levels.
In order to ensure that the Dutch economy will run entirely on renewable resources, the national government and the business community will launch additional initiatives in 2018.

Minister Schultz van Haegen: ‘Once again, 2018 will see major investments in our roads, waterways, bridges, locks, and sluices. Such investments are needed to support the Netherlands’ growing economy. The measures will be implemented in a sustainable manner and merge into the environment as best as possible. Furthermore, we are working hard on flood risk management. In the Netherlands, our flood risk management is of an exceptionally high level. We will ensure that Dutch residents will continue to keep their feet dry in the future, not just along the coast and near the rivers, but in urban areas as well.’

Environment Minister Dijksma: ‘Investments in green, clean mobility foster the sustainable growth of the economy. Innovative start-ups, but large businesses as well, are demonstrating increasingly that sustainable investments in transport and products not only benefit the climate, but yield increasingly more money-making options. Circularity will be the point of departure in this, because the reuse of waste as a new raw material is the only way to prevent depletion of our Earth.’

Investments in roads and waterways

Worldwide, the Netherlands ranks third on the list of countries with the best infrastructure. In recent years, the road network has been expanded by more than 700 kilometres of lanes. The projects carried out under the Multi-Year Programme for Infrastructure, Spatial Planning, and Transport presented today will add at least another 1000 kilometres up to and including 2031.
In 2018, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment will invest 2.6 billion euros in the main road network. Major road projects to be tackled in 2018 are: the Rijnland route, the Rotterdamsebaan, the Zuidasdok projects, the A10 interchanges Nieuwe Meer and Amstel, the A1 motorway between Apeldoorn and Azelo, and the A15 motorway between Papendrecht and Sliedrecht.
Furthermore, new road sections will be opened, including the sections of the widened motorways between Schiphol, Amsterdam, and Almere, the N18 between Varsseveld and Enschede, and the A27/A1 between Utrecht North – Eemnes interchange – Bunschoten.
A sum of 965 million euros will be available in 2018 for the maintenance and construction of waterways. Projects scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018 include the Limmel sluice, the Meppel-Ramspol waterway (Zwartsluis sluice), the expanded Eemshaven-North Sea waterway, and the Wielingen channel. Construction work on the Terneuzen sluice will also commence.


With its ratification of the Paris climate agreement, the Netherlands has committed to an even further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Ministry is mapping out the measures and innovations required to attain the goals set for 2030 (reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 40% vis-à-vis 1990) and 2050 (full climate neutrality).


In 2018, the national government will set aside 526.7 million euros for improving flood risk management, 188.8 million euros for management, maintenance, and replacement, and approx. 22 million euros for the availability of fresh water. The Delta Fund budget will total approx. 1.1 billion euros in 2018. Following the reinforcement of the coast and the widening of rivers to increase their discharge capacity, it is now important to reduce our country’s vulnerability to extreme weather conditions and the impact of urban flooding, drought, and heat stress. The new Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation (a component of Delta Programme 2018) sets out the strategy for 2019 and beyond. In the period 2018-2031, some 17 billion euros will be available in the Delta Fund, which brings the average annual budget to some 1.1 billion euros.

Public transport and aviation

Railroad investments will total 2.2 billion euros. At many locations in the Netherlands, projects aimed at improving railroad connections have been running for several years. At some locations, tracks are being prepared for an increased number of trains. Following the introduction of the new national timetable for 2018, six intercity trains an hour will be running between Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Eindhoven, one of the busiest routes in the Netherlands. This will reduce waiting times for passengers to no more than ten minutes. The years ahead will see a further expansion of such more intensive utilisation of railroad tracks.
Attention will also be paid to strengthening the Netherlands’ position as a hub in global air traffic. Up to and including 2020, Schiphol Airport will accommodate a maximum of 500,000 flight movements. This agreement between the aviation sector and the surrounding area has been adopted by the Cabinet. For the period beyond 2020, the Cabinet will take a decision on the further expansion of Schiphol Airport based on recommendations by the Schiphol Airport Environment Council. Such expansion will need to be in balance with the surrounding area. The efforts aimed at enabling the opening of Lelystad Airport in April 2019 will continue.

Smart and sustainable mobility

In order to keep the Netherlands moving, the Ministry is encouraging and developing new transport technologies and smarter forms of mobility. The aim is to have people travel from A to B as efficiently and comfortably as possible, with smooth transfer options from one type of transport to the next. Which means of transport is used is becoming increasingly irrelevant. A trend can be observed that mobility is increasingly evolving into a service.
A targeted strategy will be set down for the 2018-2020 term to improve the accessibility of urban areas, develop new transport concepts, and reduce CO2 emissions.
The transition to smarter and greener transport goes hand in hand with steps in the development of self-driving vehicles, smart shipping, and future developments such as drone transport and hyperloops. This will entail additional attention to energy-neutral and sustainable infrastructure and modes of transport.

Circular economy

The Cabinet intends to reduce the national consumption of primary resources by 50 per cent in 2030, as an interim step towards a fully circular economy by 2050. In 2018, the plans set out in the Raw Materials Agreement that was signed this year will be implemented and amended wherever necessary.
In the agreement, the national government has set down concrete plans, in concert with businesses, knowledge institutes, other governments, environmental organisations, and trade associations, for rendering biomass, food, plastics, the manufacturing industry, construction, and consumer products fully circular by 2050.