The Paradox of Dutch Sustainability


  • Claudia Rot Wageningen University & Research, Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning Group



technocratic sustainability, Environmental Justice, Discourse Analysis, the Netherlands


Sustainability in the Netherlands is a component of an enormous paradox. On the one hand, the Netherlands has an international reputation as an environmentally friendly country, while on the other hand the country perpetuates fossil fuel capitalism. This research uses a discourse analysis to draw up the context of this paradox. It expands upon the notion of Dutch sustainability, using the concept of ecological modernization and a critique on the Protestant ethic. Second, the history of land reclamation in the Netherlands is framed in the context of sacrifice zones, placing it in the context of contemporary practice of sea level rise adaptation and flood prevention on a global scale. This contextual approach begins to explain why this paradox of sustainability exists, and why Dutch sustainability currently does not include a notion of environmental justice.





Peer Reviewed Articles