Dutch companies and knowledge institutes in the high-sector are renowned for their technological excellence and are among the world's best in their market segments and niches. These properties make the Netherlands an excellent 'place to be' for technical solutions to challenges society is facing today in the areas of mobility, health, renewable energy, security, and the climate change.
Mobility is the lifeblood of modern society: Efficient, sustainable transport of people and goods is essential for our prosperity and well-being. Smart Mobility consists of the smart organization of traffic and the smart use of new technologies and IT. As more and more vehicles hit the road, mobility is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, the government and road users. Part of this challenge consists of increasing road-traffic safety and reducing fuel consumption in order to lower harmful emissions and move towards a sustainable economy. The Dutch see this as an opportunity.
The Dutch have a small but strongly defined field of expertise in technologies that help to diagnose and treat diseases.
• More precise and less risky diagnostic systems (x-ray; MRI; electron microscopy; homecare)
• Precise solutions for cancer treatment
Increasing population ageing and rising health-care costs mean that people have to live longer at home and that more care has to be provided by fewer people. Almost every Western country will feel the effects of population ageing in the coming years. In the Netherlands, the demand for care – and therefore its cost – will increase and the workforce will decrease. In addition, patients are becoming more emancipated and expect to be treated like clients.
Consumers and companies can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using energy efficiently. The emergence of alternative distributed energy generation combined with a shift from fossil fuels to electricity, as can be seen in the automotive industry, is putting our electrical grids to the test.
The Netherlands is at the forefront of Smart Grid solutions: Intelligent electricity networks that regulate the small-scale generation and distribution of energy. Smart grids play an important role in the energy supply of the future. Technological innovations and new services will ensure our future energy supply remains affordable and reliable, and will ease the shift towards renewable energy sources. More than 20 organizations in the Netherlands are working together to find and test new solutions.
Security is one of the major social challenges countries are facing today. Every day, we find ourselves dealing with interconnected networks at home and at work. In a digital economy, computers, mobile phones and the internet simply have to work. New technologies not only provide better safety and protect our privacy; they also add a range of user-friendly services, such as online payment transactions.
But security is not only about protecting data. In the Netherlands, high-level efforts are being undertaken to tackle the social challenge of security. solutions to security issues require a global approach, which is a challenge in itself as users' privacy must be guaranteed at all times. New technologies are bringing positive aspects to the table: better security; better privacy and individual identity protection; and a broad range of new, user friendly services.
In the Netherlands, a chip technology has been developed for identification checks on passports. NXP semiconductors is the market leader in the area of secure chips for passports. Innovations such as near field communications are also bringing new applications within reach.
Water, climate change mitigation and climate adaptation are all global challenges.
Sustainability is the talk of the town. New initiatives in environmental management, energy savings, heat reduction and climate care are embraced with open arms and the use and reuse of renewable resources encouraged. Advanced technologies play an important role in these improvements.
Migrating to alternative energy sources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gasses has huge consequences for the world's energy economy. The availability of fossil fuel is decreasing and the increasing scarcity is causing fuel prices to rise. The CO2 and NOx emitted during the combustion of fossil fuel are major contributors to global warming and therefore to climate change. But alternatives can have undesired side-effects too, such as rising food prices in the case of biofuel. Public awareness of just how dangerous nuclear power plants can be has prompted Germany and Belgium to close their nuclear power plants partly in response to the disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl. Hydrogen has also proven difficult to use because the finely meshed infrastructure needed to store and distribute it isn't in place. Moreover, hydrogen is an energy carrier fraught with technical problems; it takes a lot of fossil or other fuel to generate it.