The Dutch suffering from the dialectics of progress

Although The Netherlands is blessed with its own natural gas reserves, a high quality transport infrastructure and extensive knowledge about the Kingdom of Methane, a lack of long term vision stagnates the transition to a sustainable energy future.

That is the conclusion of a in-depth study of three renowned institutions. In the Eighties the country suffered from what was then called the Dutch disease. The revenues of gas sales in those days formed a soft cushion making the government less alert in its spending behaviour. Nowadays there’s no Dutch disease, but more ‘’Dutch at Ease” as far as a consistent progress on the road to a sustainable future is concerned. The actual pace has not exactly the character of a speed date according to the researchers.

The dependence on fossil fuels in the Netherlands is all the more reason for a well-controlled change in and over time. Vital economic interests, especially for industries that need a lot of energy, are at stake. But also Dutch households must be taken into account. In this sector the use of natural gas is almost a 100 percent. If you want I can give you the names of the few families that are not connected to the gas grid. Not only a long term vision is required, but also a superior strategy, as I see it, for the Dutch are noted for their culture of protest against innovation in their backyards. And the fact is, that the country is so small and at the same time densely populated that there is always a backyard.

Read Van Wijland’s reflection on the report, the factors that lead to the actual state of affairs and the way out as the research centres see it.