Investment programme for Zuid-Holland urban region
Netherlands Premier Mark Rutte accepted the ‘Investing in Renewal' programme from King's Commissioner for the Province, Jaap Smit, and the mayors of Rotterdam and The Hague. The programme is targeted at urban renewal and the sustainability of the economy in the Zuid-Holland urban agglomeration, the most heavily populated region of the Netherlands.
The programme was drawn up by Metropoolregio Rotterdam Den Haag, the economic programme council Economische Programmaraad Zuidvleugel, the province itself and Holland Rijnland en Drechtsteden. It involves investment totalling between 12 and15 billion Euros over the next 10 years. These investments, to be financed by businesses, knowledge institutes and government, will eventually generate between 25,000 and 50,000 jobs in the region over and above job creation in essential economic renewal projects. The region already accounts for 22% of national GDP.
"New approach needed"
The ‘Investeren in vernieuwen’ programme encompasses 150 concrete projects submitted by the municipalities involved, the province, knowledge institutes and the business sector. According to the OECD an investment programme of this kind can boost economic growth by 2% to 4%.
King's Commissioner Smit says the region needs a fundamental new approach: “This region has a lot of traditional industry where breakthroughs in renewal projects and job creation lag behind economic growth. We need a radical change of course and that is now happening. Together we are aware of that urgency and are taking action to make the Zuidelijke Randstad a top region.”
The plans give the region a boost in four areas: new economy, new energy, new transport links and urban renewal. Exemplary projects are:
- Strengthening infrastructure and facilities on the university campuses of Delft and Leiden, with the aim of attracting and retaining top talent.
- Setting up fieldlabs for businesses and scientists as drivers of economic renewal that also provide facilities for testing and demonstrating technologies, products and innovations, like robotisation, 3D printing and big data processing.
- Building new or improved transport links with first-rate public transport, such as complete four-track connections between Rotterdam and The Hague and an expanded light rail network
- Transforming old urban neighbourhoods into sustainable, healthy and affordable residential and living areas, and installing smart energy grids
Call for central government participation
Zuid-Holland has the potential to be one of the world's leading regions in terms of food, robotics, bioscience, maritime, safety and transport. Economic renewal should be accompanied by investment in knowledge, climate stability, and quality of life. The managers of the plan have therefore called on Premier Rutte to allow central government to participate in this coherent investment programme targeting a structural boost to the economy and better utilisation of the region's strengths. Aside from central government the plan managers have invited the business sector, the European Union and knowledge institutes to become partners in implementing the investment programme.