THE HAGUE, May 29 -- The Holland Garden pavilion, a mini green city, has fascinated many at the 2019 International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing.
For Chinese and Dutch actors in sustainable urban development, a shared passion for doing it green brings vigor to bilateral cooperation. With state-of-the-art developments showcased at the Beijing expo, the Netherlands has again proved itself to be a global trend setter in Green living. Over the past more than 30 years, the Dutch and the Chinese have worked together to introduce a variety of Dutch native plants and flowers and new planting technologies and management into China, said the Chinese embassy in the European country. Bernard Oosterom, president of the International Association of Horticultural Producers, said China's horticultural industry has grown rapidly, with some of its domestic enterprises at the forefront of new technologies. "I firmly believe that the Beijing expo will bring the attention of the world to what China is doing to help the environment and improve the lives of citizens," the veteran Dutch gardener added. "It is my hope that this will lead to collective action that will lead to a better environment and greener cities through the use of plants and the landscape," he said.
A green city is much more than green plants, and horticulture is not the only area where the Dutch and the Chinese people are conducting cooperation to promote sustainable development. For example, in the field of urban water and land resources management, a consortium of Dutch institutes and businesses was created in September 2017 to promote joint research programs and commercial, tailored solutions with Chinese partners. Its many well-known members, including Deltares, Eijkelkamp, Priva and Tauw, boast expertise in areas ranging from sponge city design and planning, environmental big data monitoring and simulation, environmental and urban housing research to intelligent buildings technology and environmental control systems. As regards waste management and circular economy, the Netherlands likes to call itself "a small country with big ambitions." It has committed itself to becoming a zero-waste economy by 2050, wherein the economy will run completely on reusable raw materials. A Dutch group on waste management comprising research institutes and leading business players has already started working with the Chinese side to develop innovative plans on how to handle the problem. "China, with the largest population on earth, has a tremendous opportunity to turn waste into valuable resources and the Dutch partnership for waste management is eager to contribute to China's goal to create a proper waste management system as a crucial building block toward achieving that goal," said the Dutch Sino Business Promotions.
Wageningen University & Research (WUR), a Dutch global knowledge leader in areas like water resource management, climate change and urban farming, also has broad experience in developing green cities. "We do several projects on landscape architecture and nature-inclusive design of areas in China in order to create more liveable urban development," Tim van Hattum, the leader of the WUR's Green Climate Solutions program, said. "WUR is strong in a bottom-up co-design approach by organizing tools and services to co-create integrated solution together with stakeholders. We have knowledge of nature-based approaches, landscape architecture, and China is strong in large-scale pilot projects (such as the sponge city program) and large-scale implementation and urban development," he said. "The WUR green city approach could be of added value for urban development in China and there is definitely potential for future collaboration on the topic of green city development," he added. Zhang Guosheng, economic counselor of the Chinese embassy in the Netherlands, agrees that with the previous fruitful projects paving the way, the Sino-Dutch cooperation in building green cities is promising. "The Dutch are strong in green growth, and we Chinese are eager for a greener life," he said. "Cooperation in this field will offer not only a bigger market for Dutch enterprises, a better life for Chinese people, but also good cases for others to study."