"Non nobis tantum nati"

The Dutch are one big family. They all have Backyard as middle name. It is the consequence of living in a small country that measures 300 by 200 kilometres with around 17 million people. The land was conquered by defeating the sea which was an impressive achievement that took several centuries.

Although very liberal and modern in their way of thinking and behaving when land and space are considered a kind of conservatism crops up. Understandably but nevertheless also a game stopper. This attitude becomes a threat to the future as far as energy developments are concerned.

The present government is aiming at a fully sustainable energy supply in 2050. That will be a tough job, for the Netherlands find itself in the rear end of the caravan of EU Member States on the road to Station 2050. Coal is not popular, but gas powered electricity plants are closing or delayed, whilst coal powered plants blossom due to attractive prices. Oil is less popular then natural gas of which the country has plenty, but in the motive market neither gas nor electricity is outrunning good old petrol and diesel. Wind the Dutch like, even when bicycling, but wind mills are kept out of sight and onshore that’s almost impossible. Even offshore wind farms meet resistance, for the beaches are favourable summer places as is an uninterrupted horizon.

Sun is most welcome, but solar power, although accepted, shows much room at the top. Or should I write roof? Hydropower is not easy to produce in flat land. Geothermal energy still awaits its break through. Natural gas is the name of the game in the Netherlands. That really makes the Dutch line up. Imagine, in this country (300 by 200 kilometres) almost 12.000 kilometres of main pipelines form a dense network. Dig and you find energy veins full of the blue gold, the subterranean wealth of the Dutch. But time is a deadly enemy. Another 20 years and the flow will slow. It is a serious situation. Les Pays Gas will return to be Les Pays Bas. Huge investments are required to arrive at a sustainable destination.

Normally people that earn more money than they need on a day to day basis save some money for meagre times. Not so the Dutch. They have spend all gas earnings on social welfare. That seems to be admirable. But it makes the individual lazy and create a growing number of people that feel themselves no longer personal responsible for their lives. Notwithstanding the extra income from this gas treasure the state debt increased, reaching for an all time high of 500 billion euros in the near future. I agree with those who advise the Dutch to get rid of Santa Claus and black Pete. The National Presents Bank is rupt.

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