A quarter of Holland is below sea level. The many canals, bridges and polders vividly illustrate how the Dutch have used innovation and technology to fight climate changes. Below are a few sustainable aspects of Holland that you can enjoy as a visitor.
A cycling vacation in Holland is perfect for many reasons. The country is relatively flat with a mild climate year-round, and the many bicycle paths and close proximity of major cities makes biking even easier. There are many paths travelers can choose from – from the rural provinces of Friesland and Groningen in northern Holland to the green heart of the urbanized Randstad, and the densely populated triangular area between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague. A journey around the IJsselmeer (the former Zuiderzee) includes traditional fishing villages and cheese towns, and in the spring there are beautiful tulip bulb fields to see. For more active types, there are hilly routes through the dunes of Texel and the provinces of North and South Holland, through the Veluwe forest in Gelderland, and in the rolling hills of southern Limburg.
Amsterdam's Restaurant De Kas offers an epicurean experience in beautiful natural surroundings, using the freshest seasonal ingredients from the restaurant’s on-site market garden. Operating from the belief that food is at its best when prepared with ingredients grown and harvested with care for the environment, the restaurant grows their own herbs, seasonal vegetables and salads and buys fresh ingredients daily from local organic farmers.
Green Key Hotels
The Green Key Organization helps indicate how sustainable travel accommodations are, by using three different certifications: bronze, silver, and gold. In Amsterdam alone, there are 32 hotels that hold Green Key certification. Visit http://www.kmvk.nl/greenkey/ to see a list of certified Green Key hotels in Holland.
The Dutch have spent the last thousand years constructing dykes, pumps, and drainage systems in a constant battle to keep the encroaching North Sea at bay. An emerging trend is amphibious dwellings and floating foundations; a floating apartment complex was recently built in Amsterdam by WaterStudio. The apartment complex and island have a cozy courtyard and the houses have terraces directly at the water.
Amsterdam Public Library (OBA)
The cutting-edge ecological design earned the Amsterdam Public Library the prize of Most Sustainable Public Building in Amsterdam. The building is equipped with abundant solar panels, has double glazing, and plenty of sustainable materials have been used. The building is connected to the Long-Term Energy Storage System that generates sustainable heat and refrigeration (for the entire island). Furthermore, it is easily accessible by bicycle and by public transport, so that OBA also scored high on the element of transport.
The Sustainable Dance Club
Rotterdam’s Sustainable Dance Club was developed by eco-innovators Enviu in partnership with Döll. Noise and movements must be made in order to power the lights on a piezoelectric dance floor. The club, aiming to use 30% less energy than the average nightclub, also serves organic beer and has LED lighting as well as a greywater system.
The Green Passage
Rotterdam boasts a "green" shopping street, appropriately called the Groene (Green) Passage. The area is studded by a number of eco-shops on Mariniersweg, and also includes an organic butcher, a green interior-goods store, and a beauty salon using natural/organic products.