Prepared on 30 September 2015 in Amsterdam:


This week the Dutch government commemorated two centuries Royal Dutch kingdom in Amsterdam, the capital city (1814-2014). Today I will give a lecture in the House of Lords (Eerste Kamer) in The Hague on ‘the third age of the Dutch kingdom’ (2014-2114). How will the next age look like? Six professors were asked by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Dutch Government (WRR) to give their view on the future of the small, densily populated country at the Northwestern periphery of Europe. My subject: urban dynamics. What is my view? First of all, I will tell the audience that the Dutch government will no longer be in control when it comes to spatial-economic dynamics; globalization, information technology and localization wil decide on future urban patterns, not its national centre The Hague. Megacities will grow all over the world. Agglomeration economies will be powerful. However, no World City status for the Netherlands. Amsterdam could become one, but seems not to be willing, Rotterdam is willing, but cannot be. The Randstad as a total is a lame duck. My conclusion is that in the future there will be a substantial brain drain.

Then I will focus on the popular concept of the Dutch city-state. Some ministers in The Hague seem to like the idea.What does it matter which town you live in? They use it to invoke collaboration. I will compare the Dutch city-state of 17 million inhabitants with other cities of the same size: Los Angeles, Istanbul and Moscow. All these global cities have bigger economies, their productivity is growing faster than the economy of the Netherlands and their ecological footprint is much smaller (the Dutch citystate only a bit less destructive than Qatar!). How come? I know. The Dutch city-state is the least densily built urban field in the world. Add to that the shrinking population in the periphery and the high vacancy rate of the real estate, which has doubled over the last five years, then you get the full picture: the Amsterdam region is growing fast, the rest of the country will be given back to nature. Amsterdam arrogance? The first wolve has been spotted earlier this year in the province of Drenthe. 





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