Windmills turbines generating electricity, green energy the Netherlands
© Fokke Baarssen
Category:A sustainable holiday in the Netherlands

Wind, sun and water give new energy

The Netherlands is committed to renewable energy. Having set course for a clean future, our country has grown into one of the world's frontrunners in the implementation of green electricity. It's not just sunshine and rainbows anymore; when you holiday in the Netherlands, you can now enjoy the return of windmills in the Dutch landscape as well. With a modern twist, of course! See and experience for yourself how this small country is a giant of modern energy supply.

  • How the country of windmills will remain the country of wind turbines in the future.
  • Nowhere in Europe will you find this many solar panels per capita.
  • Charge your own battery and get energised in the Dutch lakes, rivers and sea.

You can't get more Dutch than a good old-fashioned windmill. The enterprising people of the Netherlands figured out how to convert wind into useable energy many centuries ago, and they put the wind to work in countless ways: producing mustard, paints and gin, sawing thick tree trunks into straight planks, keeping the polders dry, and more.

Windmills keep the Netherlands running

Want to see a proper Dutch windmill? You still can. The Zaanse Schans and Kinderdijk are popular destinations but they’re far from your only choice. The tallest traditional windmills in the world are in the centre of Schiedam, while the oldest windmill in the country is in Gelderland. Windmills still keep our country running. The Netherlands has been a pioneer in clean wind energy for centuries.

Extensive wind farms have been built for that purpose, once again making the Netherlands a place where you can find countless windmills - or rather, wind turbines. Large wind farms are being built on the North Sea along nearly the entire coastline, while smaller wind farms can be found in coastal areas and in and around Lake IJsselmeer. These will account for three-quarters of the country's electricity demand by 2030.

Watching windmills never grows old

Offshore wind farm - Gemini in Groningen

While these new wind turbines may lack traditional nostalgia and charm, they more than make up for it with their technical ingenuity and the massive scale of energy provision that will define the future. They’re definitely worth a closer look. Marine boat tours are available in various locations, allowing you to learn all about the biggest wind farms in the North Sea.

Visit the wind energy museum in Flevoland, where you can get up close and personal with imposing wind turbines and learn more about what they can do. In IJmuiden, you and your friends can book a group sea cruise to see the wind farms in the North Sea with your own eyes.

Trains with a tailwind

NS train through Dutch landscape with windmills

What is this wind-generated energy used for? Hop aboard a train and find out for yourself! Since 2017, NS trains have been entirely powered by wind-based electricity. Lake IJsselmeer, for instance, hosts a large number of wind turbines that operate almost exclusively for the benefit of NS. The remainder of the 1.2 terawatt hours that NS requires per year is produced by wind power in other places, including the North Sea. So if you want to explore the Netherlands, take the train. That way, you’re guaranteed to have the wind at your back!

Recharging in the Dutch sun

Solar park in Ooltgensplaat, in the province of South Holland

The Netherlands has no shortage of wind, but what about sunshine? The weather may not be sunny all year round but that hasn’t stopped us from betting big on sustainable solar energy. In fact, we have more solar panels per capita than any other place in Europe! More and more homes and buildings have solar panels on their roofs to help satisfy their energy needs in a sustainable way.

Aside from that, solar farms throughout the country provide the Netherlands with clean energy. Want to learn more about this type of renewable energy? Then visit one of the Netherlands’ fun science museums. NEMO in Amsterdam, the Science Centre in Delft and Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam have plenty to teach you about modern technology and innovative architecture. They also occasionally host exhibitions that focus on solar energy.

Sunny outlook

Solar Team the Netherlands Nuna 7

The Dutch also excel at effectively using the solar energy they generate. The World Solar Challenge race across Australia, with cars running exclusively on self-generated solar energy, has been won multiple times by Dutch teams affiliated with universities in Twente, Delft and Eindhoven. Dutch solar-powered boats also reign supreme on the water. The headquarters of the global Solar boat race competition is based in Sneek, in the province of Friesland.

Energised by water

Oosterscheldekering from above

Another way to generate sustainable energy is by harnessing the power of water. That said, the Netherlands is almost entirely flat, so you won't find any white-water rapids or hydroelectric dams. Yet water still provides the people of the Netherlands with a huge amount of energy, both mental and physical.

There is more than enough water to be found. From the coast of Zeeland to the Frisian lakes and the picturesque canals of Dutch cities: there is no better place for various water sports, ice skating or relaxing by the water. Visit the Water Museum in Arnhem to learn about the role that water plays in our lives. Use the water in the Netherlands to recharge your inner battery!

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