The country of the future

November 30th, 2016

Recently, someone pointed me to a video on Facebook praising The Netherlands for being the country of the future, backed by 7 facts. Sadly, a lot of these facts are mixed with fiction to such an extent it is safe to call them a fabrication or the result of wishful thinking.

1 The video states that The Netherlands is the only country in the world without stray dogs.
Although stray dogs are rare, stating it is the only country without stray dogs equates to jumping to conclusions.

2 There indeed is a solar powered bike lane which was opened in 2014. It has become common practice all over the world to fit all kinds of surfaces with solar panels.
The SolaRoad in Krommenie might indeed be the first purpose built cycling path equipped with solar panels, but one of the main reasons therefore lies in the fact it is not common practice elsewhere in the world to even build specific roads for cyclists only in the first place.

3 The video states there are charging points for cars every 50 meters.
In The Netherlands, there are roughly 18000 charging stations for cars – on a total surface of 41.5 square kilometers.
You don’t need to be a math geek to figure out hundreds of thousands charging stations would be needed to find one every 50 meters – unless, of course, you’re patient enough to charge a car by using a regular wall outlet.

4 There are no cars on some of the Frisian Islands, and in some small towns like Giethoorn and Orvelte. This is, however, exceptional. The Dutch are glued to their car to an extent it’d require a thermal lance to separate them from it – even if other means of transport are faster, cheaper or more economical or efficient, the car remains their preferred means of travel.

5 In April 2016, motion was backed by a majority of the House of Representatives calling to strive for merely selling zero-emission cars by 2025. This does in no way mean diesel or gasoline powered cars will be banned, or that they will no longer be available by 2025. The Dutch government has neither the intention nor the ability to sign a ban on combustion engines into law.

6 The video states 19 prisons had to shut down due to low crime rates.
There were plans to close 26 prisons between 2013 and 2018 and build 2 new ones. A majority of these have indeed closed their doors.
Though statistics do prove there is a decline in crime and there are significantly less people imprisoned than a decade ago, the closures lined out in the Masterplan DJI 2013-2018 are mainly meant to cut costs. As facilities close, electronically monitored house arrest is on the rise and it bacame common to house two detainees in one prison cell rather than one person per cell. All these measures add up, so it is an exaggeration to state dozens of prisons had to close because there is less crime. That’s just one single piece of the puzzle.

7 The video states there are 6000 wildlife crossings. This statement is accompanied by an image of an impressive ecoduct, spanning a 6 lane motorway.
In reality, 68 so called ecoducts are (being) built. Aside from those, there, obviously, also are simpler animal crossings in use, like squirrel bridges, toad tunnels and level deer crossings. Even if you take all these into account, the number 6000 is a blatent overstatement raising false assumptions.

Though parts of the aforementioned video are flattering, on a whole, exaggerations and misrepresentations of facts does more wrong than good.

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