Germany has been Holland's
neighbour longer then we can imagine. As a small country balancing on
the edge of a continent we are poised between a landmass and the sea.
That has always been our position and we have been able to make the
best of it by becoming a trading nation. Traders cannot afford enemies
and so we also balanced our relations with the surrounding nations.
Germany is out biggest neighbour and one of our most important trading
partners. When it pours in Germany it rains in the Netherlands. The
ties between the two countries have always been very close. German 19th
century authors went on holiday in Zandvoort and rich Dutch went to
German was taught at most schools and German philosophers were all
the rage. Obviously the Second World War has made a breach in the relation
between the two nations. Yet we are still connected on many levels:
economically, culturally and linguistically. After 1945 the Dutch have
set their course west and looked to the other side of the ocean for
guidance and inspiration. Maybe it is time that we looked east and take
some examples form the German rulebook to learn from their amazing success.
Educational Business Developer, University of Amsterdam / UvA/HvA
Join us at the
future of Germany - Thursday, 26 April!
.... interested in knowing
more and sharing thoughts and ideas .... email us!
in Germany - an inspiration for green energy
Assistant Editor, Club of Amsterdam Journal
While Germany has
been at the forefront of green energy research and sustainable
development for decades now, the past years have shown that, in
practice, its political environment and regulations stand as obstacles
to the municipalities' initiatives. The example of Feldheim, a
small village located 60 kilometers off Berlin in the Brandenburg
countryside, shows the difficulties and challenges that German
municipalities have to put up with to develop their own renewable
energy alternative solutions. Most importantly, Feldheim has become,
since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, a worldwide attraction
as a sustainable alternative for villages, towns and cities to
produce their own energy.
Started in 1995 with a few windmills, Feldheim, located in a windy
area with a local corn agriculture and pig breeding, has become
in a little over 15 years, a model city for renewable energy.
It is the only German town that has managed to achieve energy
independency by constructing its own energy grid and getting enough
energy from renewable sources such as wind and biogas, to provide
electricity and heating to all of its households. 43 giant wind
turbines now stand in a nearby field providing electricity to
the 150 inhabitants distributed among 37 houses. It is this innovative
solution, put in place and action by Mayor Michael Knape, combining
energy self-sufficiency provided by the local grid and reliance
on common renewable energies that have attracted over 3,000 visitors
to Feldheim in 2011. Around fifty per cent of the visitors came
from Japan, the rest spread across the globe between Canada, South
America, South Korea and Australia, and the number of visitors
is still rising.
But achieving such as success hasn't been without obstacles and
challenges put up by the government and by the energy companies,
disadvantaged by the search for energy independency of Feldheim
and other municipalities in Germany. This is surprising giving
the policy objectives set by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany,
in 2011 aiming at a phase-out of nuclear energy with the objective
of attaining 35% energy providing by renewable sources by the
year 2020. But in practice the federal government was soon to
cut funding for a large number of renewable energy programs and
projects, especially concerning solar energy. The European Union
has been of help to Feldheim's projects for it financed half of
its 1.7 million euros biogas factory for its startup costs. Completed
in 2008, this factory provides to the inhabitants heating by using
the slurries of pig and corn manure and proving useful to the
town's local agriculture because corn production and pig breeding
already existed. In the same year, the town decided to increase
its energy independency by taking over its own grid. Nevertheless,
the grid being own by E.on, a French energy company, they decided
to construct their own grid with the help of Energiequelle, a
German energy company. This initiative, completed at the end of
2010 and for which each villager invested 3,000 euros, enabled
Feldheim to reduce the cost of electricity, per villager, by 31
percent and the cost of heating by 10 per cent. But, to get to
these results, the town has had to fight the country's most important
utility companies and the government through energy regulators,
even though no aspect of its initiatives can be proven illegal.
The town had to prove, exceeding common energy regulation requirements,
that the new grid would surpass the standards provided by public
utilities. Among other requirements it had to be proven that there
would be no interruption in the energy supply, even though an
interruption would last only a split second and no inhabitant
would be aware of it.
Despite its obvious success, Feldheim's example is a subject of
discussion for the German government but also for the ones who
would want to take example on this alternative energy model. The
government's main reserve stands mainly in the competition this
model presents to the public utilities and its refusal for self-sufficient
towns to produce more energy than they need. The state thus refuses
that Feldheim and other German cities already following its path
use their local production to financial aims in possibly supplying
energy to other municipalities to increase their financial income.
What's more, the possibilities in replicating Feldheim's model
appear to be limited. Indeed, it is because of its weather and
agricultural environment that Feldheim has been able to reach
local independent energy supplying. But not every German town,
or locality in the world, has strong wind or proper agricultural
production to launch green energy projects and rely on its own
energy supply. But there is hope in the possibilities of conversion
for other towns in adapting the Feldheim model to their own situation.
More than 300 villages in Germany are currently launching projects
and programs, inspired by the Feldheim model, despite the challenges.
Beyond the local scale, Berlin, as a major German city, has organized
a petition for the municipality to take control of its electricity
network in 2014 when its contract with the energy supplier Vatenfall
ends. Feldheim's example is not to be copied but must stand as
an inspiration and an alternative path for renewable energy resources
and sustainable development. Germany and cities shouldn't replicate
it but follow it.
Researcher, Teacher, Institute for German Studies at the University
of Amsterdam The German model: From sick patient to the leading political
economy of Europe
director, Future-Institute international, Berlin
Professor, Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Founder, Hybrid Space
our moderator Peter
van Gorsel, Educational
Business Developer, University of Amsterdam / UvA/HvA
Auroville-produced video about the vision and work of Sri Aurobindo
and the Mother, done entirely using computer motion graphics.
It presents the evolutionary crisis, the two negations and the
synthesis of Consciousness and Force. For those who already know
about Sri Aurobindo and the Mother the video provides a contemporary
way of presenting their teachings. For the new generation who
may not know about these two visionaries, the narrative style
of the video using universal symbols makes their vision and world
view easy to access.
film has duration of 22 minutes and is also available as DVD in
PAL format. You can buy high resolution DVD of Evolution Fast-forward
Written & Directed
by Manoj Pavitran
Visuals created by Hemant Shekhar
Edited by Doris
Music Composed by Arnab B Chowdhury / Ninād
Voice over by Anuradha Majumdar and Angad Vohra
Sound Mixing by Manosh Bardhan / Astha Studio
Upasana Design Studio - Auroville
Composing music is like touching one's reflection during
a boat journey on a quiet lake.
The subject, object, journey and destination fuse into a
repose and yet remain in motion.
with a palette of swaras (notes), sounds (nada),
harmonies, motifs (ragas) and beat (tala);
a composer listens to himself as he weaves a soundscape.
continuous twin chord of strings evokes a deep pathos
a beat heralds our imminent need to reconsider our lives,
the chord and the beat culminate into a Life-Solution
called Integral Yoga.
timbre synergizes the overtones of tanpura and santoor
trails of a raga motif weave patterns in spirals;
to fuse the note 'A440' and '0' as standards in their
game of hide and seek between East and West
spurred by change of scales and nuances in the arpeggio,
a light jazz feel to give of space, delight and
insight for the future.
An ensemble of synthetic timbre is rich in layers,
Playing with silence in a dynamic manner helps us
to absorb the troika: visual-word-music.
Nokia has a patent
pending for vibrating tattoos that can be etched on your skin
to let you know when your phone is ringing. The user would have
to scratch their arm to dismiss the alert.
Nokia filed a patent application that would create "a material
attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic
field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin, wherein
the perceivable stimulus relates to the magnetic field."
Food Forest in Seattle
The ethics, principles and concepts
of permaculture design and community involvement will guide both
the process and design product. A Food Forest is a design method
and land management system based on a woodland ecosystem type
of permaculture. The project will increase the skills and knowledge
base of the Beacon Hill community related to growing food and
managing the integrated systems of the Food Forest. This will
add to the growing body of knowledge to support innovative urban
food projects in Seattle. All will be available for public plucking
to anyone who wanders into the citys first food forest.
forecasts for Germany
Deutsche Bundesbank, December 2011 Outlook
for the German economy macroeconomic projections for 2012
The crisis in public finances in a number of euro-area countries,
the ensuing uncertainty as well as the general economic slowdown
are placing a strain on economic activity in Germany. Although
the domestic conditions for an extended and broadly based upturn
in Germany remain intact, its high degree of openness means that
demand impulses from the main sales markets abroad are of major
importance for the German economy.
Following a 3.0% rise in economic output in the current year,
the pace of expansion in Germany is likely to fall perceptibly
to 0.6% in 2012 as a result of a lean period during the winter
months. This forecast assumes that there will be no further significant
escalation of the sovereign debt crisis. Instead, the baseline
scenario is predicated on investors and consumers
uncertainty gradually receding somewhat. The German economy could
then return to a sound growth path in the course of next year,
based on a continuing expansionary monetary policy and faster
global economic growth. Under these conditions, gross domestic
product (GDP) could grow by 1.8% in 2013. Given an estimated potential
growth of 1¼% per year, this means that the German economy
would be operating, by and large, at normal capacity over the
entire forecast horizon.
Consumer prices have risen sharply in the current year in line
with the quite dynamic global and domestic activity. On an annual
average, the cost of living is likely to go up by 2.5% on the
year. For the two following years, noticeably lower rates of inflation
of 1.8% and 1.5% respectively are likely. First, the rise in the
cost of imported goods, especially for energy, should remain within
narrow bounds. Second, domestic price pressure is likely to increase
Uncertainty about future economic developments is extremely high
at present. If the scheduled reforms succeed in overcoming the
fiscal crisis and in allaying investors caution in the near
future, growth in Germany might be higher over the medium term
than outlined here. Nevertheless, greater weight should be attached
to the downside risks stemming from the sovereign debt crisis.
For the full report
January 2012 Future made
in Germany: Germany's growth is becoming increasingly sustainable
Federal Environment Ministry and Federal Environment Agency publish
the 2011 Report on the Environmental Economy
The 2011 Report on
the Environmental Economy, the second after the 2009 report, presents
the latest developments, challenges and prospects of the environmental
economy in Germany. It shows that Germany has already made significant
progress on the road to new, environmentally sound growth. Today,
much less resources, land and energy are used, and fewer pollutants
are emitted, than just ten years ago to obtain the same yield.
The environmental economy is a cross-sectoral industry comprising
companies that produce and supply environmental goods and services.
The report documents the sector's increasing importance for the
German economy as a whole and confirms the pioneering role of
German companies in this field. There has been above-average growth
in the production of environmental goods in Germany, now totalling
a production volume of almost 76 billion euros. With a global
trade share of 15.4 percent, Germany is at the forefront in the
export of environmental goods. According to the latest calculations
there are now almost 2 million employees in the environmental
economy - a new record. Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen
is convinced: "the transformation of our energy system will
considerably accelerate this trend."
Minister Röttgen stressed that the report is also proof of
the shaping force of policy on the road to sustainable, resource-efficient
economic activities and lifestyles: "The innovative strength
of the environmental economy is also a sign of the success of
environmental and energy policy."
Renewable energies remain the driving force behind this dynamic
development. Even during the global economic crisis, production
of goods in this sector increased despite the general downward
trend. According to a Roland Berger forecast, the global market
for green energy technologies will almost quadruple by 2020, and
for renewables such as photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, biogas
and wind energy, annual worldwide growth rates in turnover of
between 15 and over 30 percent are expected - a major opportunity
for German companies.
The forward-looking focus of sustainable production is also emphasised
by a further interesting development: in the environmental economy
there is a huge amount of intensive and continuous research. Almost
80 percent of production areas in the environmental sector are
especially research- and knowledge-intensive. The goal is to connect
innovation and environmental policy in a constructive way and
at the same time to tap new markets for environmental technologies
- an important issue in the Science Year 2012.
The Report on the Environmental
Economy illustrates that Germany has already made considerable progress
with the ecological modernisation of the economy and society: between
1990 and 2010 energy productivity rose by 38.6 percent and raw material
productivity by 46.8 percent. There were also positive developments
regarding air pollutant emissions: a 56.4 percent reduction was
achieved in the reporting period compared with 1990. Germany is
also at the forefront of recovery of waste and its environmentally
sound disposal: around 90 percent of construction waste and 63 percent
of municipal and production waste are already being recycled.
Minister Röttgen commented: "Germany's growth is becoming
increasingly sustainable. The 2011 Report on the Environmental
Economy illustrates the dynamic and potential of this development.
Germany is increasingly achieving a continuous reduction in environmentally
harmful emissions, closing substance cycles where possible and
using resources efficiently. The transformation of our energy
system is the most important strategic guide on this path. It
strengthens the capacities of our environmental economy and is
the foundation for further accelerating the sustainable restructuring
of our energy supply, our industry and our society. Germany wants
to remain a highly industrialised country, but one that is high-tech,
competitive and forward-looking. The Closed Substance Cycle and
Waste Management Act and the resource efficiency programme are
the next concrete steps on this road."
President of the Federal Environment Agency, noted: "The
Report on the Environmental Economy proves that environmental
protection in Germany is a huge success story for the economy.
Without environmental protection as an economic driving force,
Germany would have been much worse off throughout the crisis.
There are major opportunities for employment in particular in
the fields of climate protection and increasing resource efficiency.
There are also excellent prospects for the export of environmental
and efficiency technologies because the global markets for these
technologies will grow at a well-above-average pace in the coming
decades. Germany should therefore resolutely follow the path to
a green economy for economic reasons, too. This is important because
other countries such as China and South Korea have also recognised
the opportunities environmental protection offers."
The Report on the
Environmental Economy is based on numerous research projects and
data from statistical offices.
Download the 2011
Report on the Environmental Economy in
An English version of the report will be available soon.
In this book, one of Germany's most influential economists describes
his country's economy, the largest in the European Union and the
third largest in the world, and analyzes its weaknesses: poor GDP
growth performance, high unemployment due to a malfunctioning labor
market, and an unsustainable social security system. Horst Siebert
spells out the reforms necessary to overcome these shortcomings.
Taking a broader view than other recent books on the German economy,
he considers Germany's fiscal policy stance, product market regulation,
capital market, environmental policy, aging and immigration policies,
and its system for human capital formation as well as Germany's
role in the European Union, including the euro zone.
of economic governance emerges as a common theme as Siebert examines
why this onetime economic powerhouse is today a faltering giant.
He argues that what Germany needs, above all, is a market renaissance;
that it must throw off the shackles of its social welfare economy
and of its hallmark consensus approach, whereby group-based cooperative
decision-making has undermined competition and markets. In doing
so he examines both the country's social security system and its
labor market, including trade unions. His focus throughout is
on Germany's present concerns, foreseeable future problems, and
long-term policy issues.
Houseboats in the Netherlands
Is it a boat or
a house? Is it romantic or utilitarian? Its a hybrid. Its
not what it appears to be.
Building on water
is another story altogether .
Water is not like land. If you plan to build on water, you need
to do so with respect for the unique nature of water. Water is
pioneering, water is adventure, danger, and relaxation, water
lets you elude the rules of dry land. Living on water also means
views, movement, boat docked at home, romance, jetties, a sense
of individuality, wind and clouds, space, contact with the elements,
feeding swans from your kitchen, ice skating around your house
The houses are built
on a shipyard and transported by water to the location.
Dutch architect Marlies Rohmer has taken the traditional houseboat
as a model and brought it into the 21st century creating a new
whole new neighbourhood on the water.
is a very popular food in Bandung and around the Sunda region
More and more options
are being explored in the priority for the protection of the environment
and the search for renewable energy and sustainable development
in industry. In Indonesia, the industry of tofu is a great ecological
Taking the example of the city of Bandung, researchers at the
Indonesian Institute of science calculated that 300,000 cubic
meters of methane and other acid liquid residuals are released
per day by the industries producing tofu because of the necessary
soja fermentation. It is a clear ecological disaster for these
toxic residuals are poured into the river and city suburbs reaching
to millions of households and methane presents a potential for
global warming twenty times superior to carbon dioxide. Moreover,
it appears to be a huge waste for an alternative renewable energy.
According to Neni Sintawardani, a physics researcher at the Indonesian
Institute of science, these wastes can be transformed in biogas
and could be delivered to tofu producers in providing energy for
the cooking of the soja. This appears to be an ideal solution,
for the transformation into biogas has been certified by experiments
in laboratory but its implementation remains difficult because
of the tofu producer's skepticism and the high costs involved.
But the enthusiasm of a number of city officials for the construction
of a biogas reactor for the recycling of the tofu industry wastes
gives hope for the future. Eventually, the tofu producers will
hopefully stop throwing their toxic wastes in the city's canalizations
and convert to this sustainable development solution.
had to operate in very humid conditions in the factories and are
susceptible to contact with the acidic wastewater in the tofu
Portrait: Josephine Green
currently stands as one of the futurists to watch and has been
a prominent figure in the field of trend forecasting for years
now. Having graduated from Warwick University in England in History
and Politics, she started working in various fields such as marketing
and applied research for advanced strategy. Her skills, wit and
innovative vision in trend forecasting were truly revealed while
she was senior director of trends and strategy at Philips Design
from 1997 to 2009. She was then responsible for directing social
research for the Strategic Futures Program in the specific fields
of cultures, people and society. This research program was led
to articulate strategic opportunities for the brand through design
with identified emerging trends in technology, business and socio-cultural
interests and values. The innovative position of Josephine Green
as futurist and trend forecaster stands in her unique approach
to the field with a new thinking to socio-cultural values and
processes and to sustainable development. Adding to her important
senior position at Philips design for twelve years, Green has
also delivered throughout these years numerous lectures in a number
of universities for executives courses and masters. Moreover,
Green has been attached to Glasgow School of Art and design for
years now as visiting professor.
Pursuing a multifaceted
career, Josephine Green has shined outside Philips and universities'
realms in delivering searched for international presentations
worldwide and occupying a position of member of the Advisory Board
of the European Futurists Conference Lucerne. Josephine Green
also published a book titled Democratizing the Future: Towards
A New Era of Creativity and Growth. Inspired and influenced by
her politics and history study background, Green in her book presents
a macro perspective of the future. Focusing on the broader picture
and projecting herself further than what might happen tomorrow,
she emphasizes the emergence of a new paradigm. For her, in these
times of great change, citizen outrage we have witnessed across
the globe stands as "a symptom of the eroding pyramid social
structure"; leaving us with this "pancake paradigm".
In this new paradigm, democratized groups work together with more
freedom but greater confusion. Green alerts us of the necessity
to realize that technological consumerism and our craving for
marketable goods are far from being sufficient guarantees for
a better life or higher growth, especially considering ecological
future ofGermany April 26, 2012, 18:30
van Koophandel Amsterdam- Netherlands
Chamber of Commerce, De
Ruyterkade 5, 1013 AA Amsterdam
by KvK Amsterdam
future of Taxes May 31, 2012,
18:30 - 21:15
Location: Info.nl, Sint Antoniesbreestraat
16. 1011 HB, Amsterdam
Supported by Info.nl
the future of Urban Energy June 28, 2012, 18:30 - 21:15
Option: Guided Tour 17:00
Van Eesterenmuseum, Burgemeester De Vlugtlaan
1063 BJ Amsterdam
& Freelance Factory