Bad news

Read in NRC Handelsblad of 1 December 2015:

There was some news on the future last week. Bad news. Hope you didn’t read it. In ‘The Netherlands will look like this in the future’, NRC Handelsblad reported on a scenario study of the Netherlands in the year 2050. The two long term scenario’s were made by the Central (economic) Planning Bureau (CPB) and the Dutch National Planning Office for the Environment (PBL). In ‘Toekomstverkenning Welvaart en Leefomgeving’ both Planning Bureaus are forecasting a slowing down of economic growth in the future in each scenario. It’s all because of demography: the Dutch population will shrink.  Whether there will be any economic growth, will depend on technology, the planners in The Hague think. Some of them have high expectations of smart machines and robotization, others are more sceptical. In most parts of the country there will be no growth at all. Some regions will shrink even by 10 or 25 percent. “This can change the streetscape completely.” In the scenario ‘High growth’ the Amsterdam region will show the best results, in the scenario ‘Low growth’ all of the country will cope with high unemployment, vacant buildings, administrative crises, budget cuts. So in the low growth scenario even in Amsterdam the streetscape will change completely. For worse.

The surprising fact is that the experts think the Randstad will lose power in each scenario compared to Overijssel, Gelderland and Noord Brabant. Why?  Because the big cities in the West, they write, have already too many one-person households. It’s a typical demographers view. They even advise to build new dwellings all over the country, especially in the East and the South, where they think these houses will be needed. There is no lack of space over there! And Amsterdam, one of them adds, “will certainly not explode,” referring to the heated discussion on recent extreme fast growth in Amsterdam. No discussion on the poor outcome of the scenario’s, on the lack of agglomeration economies in the Netherlands, on strange local effects of globalization. No thinking even on why all this slow or no growth in the future is expected and how we could boost our national economy instead, other than blaming demography and our open economy. Just a lousy, old fashioned report of some experts in a The Hague bureaucracy again. Don’t read it. Just forget it.



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One response to “Bad news”

  1. Martin van Elp Avatar
    Martin van Elp

    Netherlands 2040
    (link vanished somehow)

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