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Making connections: Holland Metropole keeps on building links

The Holland Metropole region is continuing to excel in terms of connectivity and infrastructure, according to the latest research by The Business of Cities.

Air passengers are a first visible sign of how special the region is and the three main Holland Metropole airports welcoming nearly 80 million passengers in 2018. This put the region ahead of Hong Kong and Singapore, and just behind the San Francisco region, the report said.

Passenger numbers have grown faster than in other regions with a year-on-year growth of just above 4% and, the researchers say, among regions of fewer than 10 million people, Holland Metropole may become the world’s leading aviation hub in the next decade.

The region is also an important cargo hub but, the researchers say, its super- connectedness stands out most of all in its internal connectivity.Its polycentric character means the region offers the unique ability to connect multiple large cities directly by rail. Other regions, by contrast, have inherited a pattern of growth around a single centre which has reduced access to jobs and other key urban assets,’ the report said.

The region boasts an average travel time between the five centres of just over 50 minutes (second only to Greater Boston) and an average speed of around 85km/h (third only to Munich Metro and the London region).

Holland Metropole’s special connectivity is also reflected in the fact that it is the only region among its peers to provide direct rail travel between all its major centres, making living in Rotterdam, working in Amsterdam and going out to the theatre in Utrecht a realistic option.

At the same time, Holland Metropole’s digital infrastructure platform remains very strong by global standards. Having a strong digital infrastructure boosts digital workforce skills, internet usage and access to smart services, so it is unsurprising, the report notes, that Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and The Hague all recently ranked in the top 20 cities in Europe for the number of people working in jobs in the ‘app economy’.

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Interview with minister Kasja Ollongren

‘Meeting housing targets is a challenge’

Kasja Ollongren, minister

The main challenge facing the property sector in the Netherlands is to ensure everyone can live a pleasant and comfortable life in rented or owner-occupied accommodation, Dutch home affairs minister Kasja Ollongren said at the presentation of the government’s budget for 2020 in September.

The plans include setting up a €1bn fund to help the six big city local authorities speed up housing construction by preparing more land for building and so meet the target of 75,000 new homes a year. A further €50m has been allocated to develop a clean air agreement with local and provincial governments

‘Not only must we build more houses more quickly due to the housing shortage, but we must also guarantee affordable, sustainable homes now and in the future, often in locations where space is already at a premium,’ the minister told Holland Metropole Magazine in an interview.

 

Challenge

At the same time, however, the Netherlands also faces the challenge of implementing a huge energy transition in the framework of climate change, which, the minister points out, will have a major impact on the housing market. In particular this involves phasing out the use of gas for heating and cooking in private homes.

In other words, not only must we give priority to house building but also to making existing homes more sustainable,’ the minister says.

 ‘The eventual outcome must be a sector that is even more resilient, in which corporations and developers, builders and the housing authorities work together in harmony in a housing market with fewer excesses and in which eventually everyone lives in a sustainable manner.’

In order to achieve this, the minister argues, it is very important that the public and private sectors work together. ‘Only by working together can we face up to the challenges facing the housing market. There is a clear role for investors, builders, municipal authorities and myself.’

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