Panorama Nederland: cleaner, more cohesive, and richer

On 6 December the College of Government Advisors (College van Rijksadviseurs) launched Panorama Nederland. An optimistic future image to which we can aspire. Chief government advisor, also De Zwarte Hond partner, Daan Zandbelt: “We are facing complex assignments, such as ’Paris’. We can’t make it any easier, but we can make it more fun!” Panorama Nederland sketches a Netherlands that can evolve from a shared aspiration. it is a future perspective that examines the complex field of essential changes such as climate adaptation, agricultural reform, urbanisation and energy transition as interdependent elements. it is essential that we consider the various assignments in conjunction with each other. A cultural shift from sectoral to integral is the only possible way to tackle the wide-ranging nature of the issues successfully.  

Panorama is grouped into four leading themes: the water assignment, farmland, urbanisation and sustainable energy. These four themes converge and will become tangible in the region. Here, they can be deployed to improve regional quality and cohesion.

More time for each other
There is currently an acute housing shortage in the Netherlands because more and more people are moving to urban areas and households are constantly shrinking. Many new homes will be built: an estimated one million by 2040. But this cannot be achieved in the old way. No more housing built in areas where residents are stuck in a traffic jam every day or are obliged to travel in an overcrowded train. New homes can easily be built in the existing town or city. The principles for urbanisation are:
1. Stimulate proximity: concentrate and combine housing construction with other urban functions
2. Stimulate freedom of choice: public transport as a regional backbone 
3. Optimise high-speed national and international train connections

New energy
The Netherlands has undertaken to minimalise its CO2 emissions and to achieve the objectives laid down in the Paris Climate Agreement. A sectoral and decentralised approach leads to a cluttered landscape and, rightly, raises concerns and resistance. Owing to a lack of cohesion we are in danger of failing to meet the climate targets and jeopardising the quality of our landscape and our towns and cities. The principles for new energy are:
1. Give new energy to old neighbourhoods
2. Expand Regional Energy strategies into Regional Environmental Agendas
3. Promote cross-border energy

Water connects us
Climate change is happening. The weather is becoming increasingly extreme and the Netherlands is facing periods of severe drought or heavy rainfall. As a consequence it is imperative that the land is better protected against flooding, but water storage will also have to be improved in order to alleviate drought. The principles designated for this are:
1. Make spatial quality an explicit second objective in every water-related assignment
2. Choose a design approach
3. Opt for maximum social return in the long term
4. Look beyond 2050

Rich farmland
Current intensive food production is no longer tenable and adversely affects the landscape, nature, soil quality, biodiversity, the environment and public health. The Netherlands is depleting its social capital. The farmers themselves derive no benefit from these business practices. it is high time for a change in direction. Panorama proposes a New Deal between farmer and society. Sustainable production, whereby the farmer is also paid for nature conservation and other social tasks. To achieve this, the following principles are proposed:
1. Set a high landscape quality as a precondition for agriculture
2. Restore the soil to its natural, healthy state
3. Offer perspectives for life
4. Use our open spaces sparingly
5. Remove industrial arable farming from rural areas
6. Government: play an active role

in this way Panorama Nederland outlines an image of a Netherlands that will become “cleaner, more cohesive, and richer”. A beautiful country where people have more time for each other, because they live close together and are no longer stuck in traffic jams. Panorama Nederland provides a shared, recognisable and positive future image whereby citizens look forward to the future because it promises them something beautiful.