Journal //


(Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amsterdam)

In all disciplines, but most especially in social sciences, the greatest enemy of the researcher may well be preconceived ideas. And we have fallen precisely in one of their traps when we arrived in the Netherlands. We had in our mind this (not so wrong!) vision of a high-tech and green country... and our first sight of it confirmed this opinion: wind turbines everywhere next to the motorways, bikes on all streets. While we're charging our car, we were able to discuss battery and Tesla with another plug-in vehicle owner.

And yet, when we had a first look at the data, we were appalled: renewables represented only 5.8% of the total final energy production in 2016. We knew of course that the country was an important gas consumer and producer... But we were not aware at all of the magnitude of this carbon lock-in. Interview after interview, we realised the country was facing many more constraints than we thought in the development of renewables.

Watch our travelogue: "Back on the continent"!


For our interview with Jillian Benders, Project Manager at Gemeente Rotterdam, we were welcomed by a huge storm while recording at the 40th floor of a building. Quite an impressive time!


We had the honour to meet with Pr Bert De Vries. Among his whole work on climate change and climate policies, he is specialised more especially on topics related to energy and land part.
Working with the Netherland Environmental Assessment Agency (BBL), his missions developed links with the public sector and more precisely the government. He occasionally was in contact with private parties (entreprises like Shell, for example).


Amsterdam is truly a poetic city, with it's canals, its bridges and the luxuriant vegetation in the streets as well as in the parks. Just like in Brussels, art was roaring in the city as the Holland Festival took place. Some performances were held in public places, gathering a lot of inhabitants and tourists.

We finished our visit in the Netherlands with Mrs. Saskia Timmer, from the AMS institute, a research body specialised in technology solution for the transition in Amsterdam; Mrs. Tineke de Boer, from the commune of Amsterdam (Gemeente Amsterdam), on fuel poverty issues related to renewable energy and sustainability policies in the city; and, finally, we discovered ZonnenPanelenDelen (WeShareSolar in English), a crowdfunding platform aiming at funding solar energy projects across the country. For this, we interviewed Mr. Edwin Res, market manager of the company.