The Netherlands as a model Green City for China

“China is rapidly urbanizing, by 2030 there will be more than 1 billion urban consumers…’ To compare statistics, the Netherlands’ largest city Amsterdam has a population of one million, while China’s biggest cities are pushing towards 30 million. In other words, in terms of sheer size, there may not be a lot of overlap. But did you know that the Netherlands is 93% urbanized? In our new ‘Feeding & Greening Mega Cities’ Study, we dive into the developments, similarities and differences and opportunities for the Dutch and Chinese sectors to connect.

Sponge cities

One of the key elements for the Chinese Green Mega Cities is smart water management. China has been facing severe issues water-related issues for years, both in terms of pollution and allocation. Sponge cities have become a national priority after dry spells and floods hitting many cities. Needless to say that this is an interesting opportunity to cooperate. “Every square centimeter in the Netherlands has been designed by civil engineers, architects, urban designers and landscape architects.” There are already several ongoing sponge city projects in China, and some water management projects have clear ties with the Netherlands.

Metropolitan Farming

Moving towards megacities also requires us to rethink the way we organize our foodchain and foodsupply. Besides striving for higher yields and reducing food waste, implementation of shorter supply chains and sustainable greenhouse cultivation are important themes. It helps us in striving for reduced emissions, optimal use of water and energy and reduce the use of pesticides. In the Chinese market, the government has named several ‘agro parks’ to drive agricultural development. The Greater Bay Area, which will be visited during the upcoming ‘Feeding & Greening Megacities trade mission’ in March, is a key area for this.

Health & Wellbeing

The Chinese population is becoming increasingly urbanized, and is also shifting in terms of income. With an increasingly large group of ‘upper middle class’, there’s also a clear rise in the demand for higher quality and ‘safe’ food, especially in tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. Traditionally, food safety is also a top concern for Chinese consumers. As such, there’s an increasing drive to introduce certification and labels to guarantee quality and safety of the products.

Sustainable Supply Chain

The Netherlands has the highest capacity of cold storage per capita in the world. Cold chain logistics is essential to guarantee food safety and keep the quality of products high. Of the potential market for cold chain, products using cold chain transportation in China is below 40%, which is far less than the 95% in developed countries. High cost, low profitability and inadequate quality are the biggest challenges facing the industry. The rise of e-commerce however is an important factor in the development of the sector. Themes such as traceability, country of origin and certification and labelling are heavily influencing consumers trust.

Areas for future cooperation

Are you active in areas related to green megacities and wondering about opportunities? You can request the complete research for free by contacting our Agricultural Department through