Do you want to know more about making cities smart and sustainable? Talk to the Dutch!

The Netherlands is basically one large, urbanized area. About 75% of all Dutch people live in cities. Our cities are already significantly densified, but at the same time we want to respect our waterfront location and our nature. The challenges that cities face worldwide in terms of climate neutrality, liveability and digital inclusivity are very recognizable to us. And we know better than anyone how to deal with them. The solutions we have come up with are scalable and applicable anywhere in the world. Do you want to know more about making cities smart and sustainable? You should talk to the Dutch!”

We make a more sustainable future through targeted urban (re)design, collaboration and an advanced but socially responsible use of information technology. The Dutch are known as down-to-earth: we’re proud to be pragmatic and decisive. Our approach, with six concrete and tangible pillars, matches our Dutch traditions of urban planning, polders and an open society based on equality and inclusiveness.

In short, our six pillars:

1 – Our way of working together:

    In the Netherlands, we are very much used to the national/federal government organizing itself this way with local and regional governments. In addition to scalability, we also guarantee use, ethics and privacy.

    2 – Digital Infrastructure and Enabling Technologies:

    More than ever, a high-quality digital infrastructure is indispensable for the economy and society. The Netherlands has been at the forefront of this field internationally for many years and is consciously investing in cloud technology, artificial intelligence, 5G/6G and high-quality data applications. In various domains, the Netherlands also occupies a leading position in the realization of federated Dataspaces under (legally established) principles such as data at the source, data sovereignty, digital trust (under a system of agreements) and interoperability (nationally and internationally, within and between domains). The DMI ecosystem is an appealing example of how the possibilities of data and platform technology are used for smart and sustainable cities and mobility innovation.

    3 – Spatial policy and urban strategy, using (predictive) digital twins and city support centres (incl. impact monitoring and modelling)

    Urban Data Platforms not only offer municipalities a better view and insight into the actual functioning of their city, but also provide a concrete action perspective and management options. An (Urban) Data Platform (UDP) is a digital platform in which data can be exchanged between all participants and new applications can be developed and implemented for major tasks, such as urban development, sustainability, inclusive services and mobility. This also makes it possible for smaller cities to access and share their own data, and to receive data from third parties. Advanced Digital Twins can be of great value in urban redevelopment. These show connections between topics and domains and enables administrators, policy makers, designing (construction) parties and, for example, administrators to compare different options and scenarios based on reliable models. Furthermore, Digital Twins offer excellent visualization possibilities to engage in interactive conversation with (future) residents and users. Environmental involvement is a crucial factor in large transitions in our cities.

    4 – Building, design, technique and building management (climate adaptation, circular, nitrogen-free, etc.)

    The Netherlands distinguishes itself on this topic by making data on construction and building management reusable for other applications in and around the city (energy, relocation, reuse of material, etc.).

    5 – Mobility innovation

    The original idea behind the Dutch Talking Traffic-programme – facilitating the exchange of data between road users and intelligent infrastructure within a public-private data chain in order to reduce the adverse effects of mobility on the basis of real-time data – has been implemented successfully and is going full speed ahead.

    An increasing amount of parties wants to join the data chain, more outdoor objects are digitally linked and more cities acknowledge the added value of being able to guide and manage groups of road users in a smart way. As a result, Talking Traffic is becoming increasingly important for governments as a combination of tools for simplifying management and maintenance, as well as policy decision-making. Interest in this type of data-driven mobility is growing, especially in cities that are in the process of rolling out the Smart City concept.

    The already limited space in busy inner cities requires conscious choices, also on mobility. Less possession and more sharing, less burden on citizens and their environment, but without compromising on accessibility of facilities, availability of transport and comfort. We focus on various forms of shared mobility, responsible realisation of hubs, smart access, more road safety and sustainable alternatives.

    6 – Value-driven digitization

    What society do we want to live in? The digital transition works for everyone, and all can participate in the digital age: we all have control over our own personal, digital life and can have confidence in a safe, digital world. Fundamental rights and public values are leading for the development of digitization and the use of all its applications. With this approach, the Netherlands leads the way in an international perspective. 

    Our partners are: