Enhancing The Netherlands’ competitiveness

For the Netherlands to be competitive, it is important that international companies remain here and that more companies, entrepreneurs and international knowledge workers are attracted to the country. To achieve this, the government is striving to create a good quality of life: high quality transport networks, space to work and live in, good provision of education, culture, green spaces and recreational facilities.

The government has chosen to focus on strengthening the spatial and economic infrastructure. This means:

  • enhancing the strengths of the urban regions with a concentration of key economic sectors, international connections and hubs;
  • providing good public transport in urban regions and multimodal networks for the logistics sector providing space for the main energy supply network and the transition to a sustainable, renewable energy supply;
  • providing space for main pipelines carrying dangerous substances;
  • ensuring the efficient use of the subsurface.

Mobility around urban regions with key sectors

Companies in key sectors (the Netherlands’ key innovative economic sectors that lead the field at the European and global levels) are found throughout the Netherlands. However, they are concentrated mainly in the urban regions around the hubs, Brainport, greenports and valleys. For instance:

  • Hubs (Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol airport);
  • Brainport (southeastern Netherlands);
  • Greenports (Venlo, Westland-Oostland, Aalsmeer, northern North Holland, Boskoop and the bulb region).

The government regards these urban regions as nationally important and aims to further strengthen them. The central government will prioritise solving mobility problems in the hubs, Brainport and greenports. Regional packages to reduce congestion through the better use of infrastructure have been developed for a number of these regions.

Energy supply

Central government will specify routes for power lines (from 220 kilovolts) and sites for power generation (from 500 megawatts). It will also initiate a transition to a sustainable, renewable energy supply. This includes making the electricity infrastructure suitable for more decentralised power generation in the longer term.

Central government and the provincial authorities will plan space for more onshore wind farms. These should generate at least 6,000 megawatts in 2020. Central government will also ensure space is reserved to generate 6,000 megawatts offshore in the longer term. In 2015, the government will review whether the expansion of new offshore power generation requires new spatial planning policy and infrastructure from 2020 onwards.

Pipelines for the transport of hazardous and other substances

The network of main pipelines for transporting hazardous and other substances includes gas transport and links between production sites. Central government will reserve space for the construction of these pipelines on land and offshore. Pipelines on land which are of national importance for the transport of dangerous substances will only be allowed in specially designated zones.

Efficient use of the subsurface

The subsurface plays an important role in energy supply. It is used for the extraction, storage and transport of oil and gas, and for geothermal energy. The subsurface is also used for the storage of CO2 and nuclear waste. Other factors to take into account include:

  • the extraction of mineral resources such as salt, coal and sand;
  • archaeology;
  • the national underground infrastructure (tunnels and pipelines);
  • the management of soil contamination or the remnants thereof;
  • the protection of the groundwater supply and its quality.

Given the limited space available in the subsurface, its significance for the economy and the need to coordinate with activities above ground, the efficient use of the subsurface is a matter of national importance.