With climate change becoming a pressing issue all over the world, moving towards more sustainable options has become imperative. If you’ve ever gone for a hike through the Dutch dunes, you know how cool it is to see how the Dutch have successfully managed to preserve their own country. This sense of self-preservation and sustainable living goes far beyond the sand dunes stretching alongside the coast; the Netherlands is actually ranked as one of the most sustainable countries in the world.
Reaching Goals to Maintain Sustainability
The Netherlands may be pretty green now, but that hasn’t always been the case. As the years progressed, energy consumption went up while gas sources dwindled. The solution to this problem has been tapping into sources of clean energy, and the Netherlands has set some pretty impressive objectives in order to reach its goals.
The Netherlands is one of the countries participating in the Climate Act and by 2030 aims to decrease all of their greenhouse gas emissions by 55% below 1990 levels, with over 80% of the capital city’s homes powered by renewable energy sources. By 2050 they’re hoping to have decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 95%.
In 2021 over 12% of all energy in the Netherlands came from a renewable energy source. With the great strides that have already been made towards sustainability, The Netherlands is in the top 15 most sustainable countries in the world for expats to live in and thanks to its strong policies have secured 17th place out of 193 countries in the 2022 Sustainable Development Report.
Where Do the Dutch Their Green Energy From?
The Dutch may be known for their classic windmills, but the modern versions are pretty impressive too. Just a few kilometers off the coast a new wind farm is being built on an artificial island – and it’s set to be the largest wind farm in the world. Solar power isn’t lost on the Dutch either. Even though this tiny country isn’t particularly known for its sunny weather, The Netherlands produces the most solar power per capita in the entirety of Europe, even more than countries like Switzerland or Germany.
However, the largest source of clean energy in the Netherlands is by far biomass, generated from organic materials like wood clippings and manure. About 60% of all renewable energy consumption is powered by it, making it a great sustainable alternative to nonrenewable energy sources.
Traveling in the Netherlands
There are so many ways to, and the great thing is that many of them are very environmentally friendly as well. Learning to cycle is as natural to the Dutch as learning to take their very first steps, and the entire country’s infrastructure is incredibly friendly to people who prefer to cycle. You hear many people saying that there are more bikes than people in the Netherlands and it’s definitely not an understatement.
But aside from cycling, travel, and transportation in the Netherlands are generally very sustainable. All passenger trains have been running on solely green energy sourced from windmills since 2017, and by 2025 all buses are set to run only on clean energy or fuel. Even Schiphol, the national airport, strives to become the most eco-friendly airport in the world by 2030.
Another thing the Netherlands is leading in is the ratio of electric cars versus gas cars. These numbers have been steadily increasing and there’s hope that one day in the future all cars in the Netherlands will be electric.
Keys to Living a Greener Life: Moderation is Key
In the Netherlands, bling and Ferraris probably wouldn’t impress the average person – the Dutch are known for having moderate lifestyles. Even though customs like traditional Dutch fashion died out a long time ago, moderation is one of the cultural values that have remained. Living in excess isn’t something that most people strive for and that most likely has its roots in Protestant values from earlier years.
Other than government initiatives that move towards using renewable energy sources, household practices also play a big role in keeping the Netherlands green. Compost and recycling are common practices in the Netherlands and are heavily encouraged. Local energy companies are transparent about the amount of clean energy they produce and there’s been a steady increase in people choosing greener providers.
From riding a bike to work to the giant windmills that reach into the sky, the Dutch are doing a pretty great job when it comes to ensuring that the Netherlands is sustainable and climate-friendly. With ambitious goals for the next few decades, there’s no doubt that the future is looking bright. Would you like to learn more about the Netherlands? Make sure to check out our blog or our thriving communities on Facebook and Instagram