Today saw the official presentation of the Dutch National Fund for Green Investments (Nationaal Groeifonds). According to various senior Zuid-Holland administrators, this new fund – which represents a total value of €20 billion – will give major impetus to various efforts to safeguard the long-term continuity of earning power and employment in the Netherlands. The Cabinet’s plans for long-term investments in the Dutch economy align with various programmes that are already underway in Zuid-Holland. Private firms, knowledge institutes and public authorities in the region are making substantial joint investments in new revenue models and employment, based on a common Growth Agenda. This package of investments and actions undertaken within Zuid-Holland presents the Dutch National Fund for Green Investments with concrete handles and propositions.
Over the past few months, key players from Zuid-Holland have lobbied intensively for the establishment of such a fund. They are consequently delighted with the present plans. ‘Companies, knowledge institutes and public organisations in Zuid-Holland have joined forces,’ explains Jaap Smit, Chair of Economic Board Zuid-Holland and King’s Commissioner of Zuid-Holland. ‘Together, we will be able to realise 10% extra economic growth for the Netherlands within the next ten years. The Zuid-Holland region has drawn up a concrete Growth Agenda for this purpose, which we intend to realise in partnership with the State.’
Thanks to a combination of leading knowledge institutes, large private players and innovators, Zuid-Holland has everything in house to step up its contribution to the Netherlands’ economy and society. ‘Connecting our innovative enterprises more effectively with strong companies will allow us to create new revenue models and jobs for the Netherlands,’ says Jaap Smit. ‘Still, this will require closely coordinated investments in knowledge and innovation, education, metropolitan public transport, the power infrastructure and manufacturing.’
Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority: ‘In the years ahead, we will need to raise the sustainability of our society’s power supply and industrial sector. This is vital both in terms of climate change mitigation and for economic development and employment. It is important that the government doesn’t merely state that systemic changes are required, but also frees up funds to guarantee the Netherlands’ prosperity in 20 to 30 years’ time. The recent Cabinet decision has laid the groundwork for this investment fund. What we need to do now is invest in those projects that will have the biggest impact.’
Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus and Chair of the Executive Board of Delft University of Technology: ‘The announced investments in innovation can kick-start the Dutch economy. At our campus in Delft, for example, we work together with the private sector, government agencies and fellow knowledge centres on strengthening our ecosystems in the field of quantum technology, AI and Health and Energy. This also helps to develop the huge potential found in Zuid-Holland in these fields – so we can help build a sustainable future.’
Bart van Zijll Langhout, Head of Janssen Campus Netherlands: ‘One can see new solutions developing within innovative ecosystems like Leiden BioScience Park – out of the merging of knowledge, expertise and a spirit of enterprise in the medical biotech sector. In the years ahead, we will need to further build our existing campus-based public-private partnerships, so academic knowledge and economic activity can strengthen each other even further.’
Marja van Bijsterveldt, Mayor of Delft: ‘It is important that the Dutch National Fund for Green Investments pays sufficient attention to connections. On the one hand, there’s the physical connection between centres of new innovation and places where people live and work. This can be achieved by creating the right conditions for scaling up public transport – the further development of the Oude Lijn connection between Leiden and Dordrecht, for example. On the other hand, we need to connect people who are currently on welfare with new employment opportunities, by establishing a further education fund.’