24 April 2017

Call from ninety professors

'Make The Netherlands the leading country in the new, green economy'

The new cabinet has to make a big step towards sustainability quickly. Ninety professors of eighteen different universities write this in an open letter that was published today in the Dutch newspaper Trouw.

Kolencentrale van Engie in Rotterdam.
Coal-fired power plant in Rotterdam. One of the twelve recommendations in the letter is: 'Shut down the five remaining coal-fired power plants no later than 2020.'

The professors ascertain that fossil-based energy is too big a factor in the Dutch economy. They want the government to invest 200 billion euros in smart infrastructure and especially in knowledge, labour, education and new ways of organising.

In the open letter (in Dutch) the professors make twelve concrete recommendations for the sensible and sustainable economy that has to be realised in the short term:

  1. Appoint a Minister of Energy and Climate.
  2. Dedicate resources to broad fiscal greenification.
  3. Price CO2 realistically and introduce a CO2 charge.
  4. Stimulate the renovation of existing houses into energy-neutral houses.
  5. Stimulate the generation of sustainable energy on a large scale.
  6. Shut down the five remaining coal-fired power plants no later than 2020, with minimal compensation for the owners of these plants.
  7. Introduce a kilometre tax.
  8. Stimulate the development of regional campuses focused on learning-working-entrepreneuring for the new economy.
  9. Give sustainability an important place in education.
  10. Create legal space to experiment for the new economy.
  11. Come up with an adequate solution for the earthquake damage in the province of Groningen.
  12. Develop an investment fund for companies which want to invest in sustainable (social and ecological) innovations.

The signers Jacqueline Cramer, Peter Driessen, Klaas van Egmond, Rob Raven, Bert de Vries and Herman Wijffels represent Utrecht University. They are closely involved with the Utrecht-based research into a sustainable society.


Utrecht University combines its expertise in the field of sustainability in the research theme Sustainability. This way, Utrecht University develops integrated solutions to sustainability issues and contributes to a sustainable society and a better future for the upcoming generations. This theme connects the excellent Utrecht-based sustainability research from Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social and Behavioural Sciences. The focus is on water, energy and a healthy living environment. Sustainability is one of Utrecht University's four strategic research themes.