When you think about Netherland, you probably imagine the quaint windmills and wooden shoes. Many people are unaware that modern Netherland is full of inventors and innovations that can change the future. Netherland is very ecologically focused, and many of its inventions seek to save the environment, protect animals, and stop pollution.
Here are sixteen ways Netherland is leading the world to a brighter future. Read on!
1. A backpack that cleans the air as you wear it
Some choose to combat air pollution by wearing simple masks, but five innovative Dutch students went one step farther when they created the Plant Bag. The mask is fitted into a backpack that contains a plant. Air is filtered through the roots of this plant before being pushed through to the wearer’s mask. The students have begun to question the plant’s necessity, however, and are working on creating a filtration backpack that can do the same thing without it.
2. Houses of the future
Netherland features some truly space-age architecture that is as visually stunning as it is modern and functional. Because of rising sea levels in Netherland, attention has been shifting to creating houses and other buildings that float atop the water.
3. Cars and cargo boats that pilot themselves
Robot boats can drive themselves to bridges and docks carrying full loads of passengers and cargo. In addition, Netherland is one of the innovators in driverless technology, with robotic cars drove by day to “teach” them the roads, and then operated the driverless at night.
4. Traffic signals on the ground
Netherland has designed a series of traffic light strips on the ground at intersections. The lights are timed with the traffic lights to keep pedestrians on smartphones from wandering into traffic against the light. Prior to this invention, they had already implemented glowing crosswalks. While this is one of the sixteen ways, Netherland is leading the world to a better future, a world where everyone is so focused on their phones while walking that they cannot look up to see a traffic light is not one we should be living in.
5. Animal bridges
Netherland has designed bridges that span busy freeways to allow wildlife to cross safely. While the Netherlands weren’t the first with the idea of animal bridges, they currently boast 66 of them and have the longest one, spanning half of a mile. The Natuurbrug Zanderij Crailoo crosses a railway, a business park, a sports complex, and a river.
6. Glow in the dark highway lines
Designed to combat glare and make travel lanes highly visible, glow in the dark traffic lines are definitely the wave of the future. The lines are solar powered, so they require no additional energy sources. The lines can retain their glowing properties for ten hours after the sun sets. It is only the first prototype for what is being called the Highway of the Future. Also, there is currently research being done on making paint that is temperature sensitive. This paint will display warnings if the pavement reaches certain temperature extremes while remaining transparent if the temperatures are normal.
7. Biodegradable cars
The Dutch have invented the electric car made from biodegradable materials. The car is made from sugar beets and sheets of flax. The suspension system, tires, and engine are the only features of the car made from traditional materials. Number seven on our list of sixteen ways Netherland is leading the world to a brighter future, this is ingenious.
Imagine if you could grow crops continuously, all year round? The Dutch have managed to create greenhouses with climate control to allow them to do just that. Some of the enormous greenhouse complexes can cover over 170 acres. These greenhouses enable Netherland to top the global market in tomato, onion and potato exports. Thanks to these innovative greenhouses, Netherland is the second largest vegetable exporter and accounts for nearly a third of all vegetable seed sales in the world.
9. Pollution rings
Compressed air pollution and smog are pushed into small cubes that are then worn as rings. Each ring is made from thousands of cubic meters of polluted air. The pollutants are actually from a tower that Dutch inventor Daan Roosegaarde built in Beijing. Called the Smog Free Tower, it distributes positive ions into the air which attach themselves to pollutants. These are then collected by a negatively charged surface, acting as a magnet to collect the pollutants. The collected chunks of pollutants are then fashioned into rings and cufflinks.
10. Dream control
The Lucid Dreamer is a Dutch invention that allows the user to control his dreams. He can choose what he dreams about, and what direction the dreams take. The lucid dreamer works by targeting specific activity in the frontal lobes of the brain, called gamma activity. The device delivers a mild, safe stimulation to the frontal lobes to increase gamma activity, producing lucid dreams. This is number ten on our list of the sixteen ways Netherland is leading the world to a brighter future because it is a dream come true.
11. Suspended bridge for bicyclists
Because bicycling is such a popular mode of transportation, a suspended bridge was designed exclusively for them. It is suspended far above the dangerous auto traffic below it, and towers at 70 meters above the landscape. Called the Hovenring, it is part of a larger and more extensive bicycling network of paths, and features on and off ramps to allow bicyclists to completely avoid traffic and traffic jams. At night, the Hovenring is lit from lights below it, adding to the surreal effect.
12. Floating forests
Located in the historic Rijnhaven harbor basin, the Bobbing Forest was the brainchild of sculptor Jorge Bakke. He felt that city dwellers had no way of enjoying the beauty of nature, and hoped that the trees would reduce CO2 emissions. Each tree floats alone in a large tanks filled with fresh water and soil. Lava rocks are added to achieve buoyancy in the heavy tanks. While this was the first floating forest, Jorge Bakke is planning for more in the future.
13. Netherland has no homeless animals
Netherland is the only country that has no stray animals. This accomplishment was done with stiff fines and even jail time for anyone who abuses or abandons an animal. Also, neutering services are performed free of charge. Netherland also launched a very effective campaign encouraging people to adopt their pets rather than buying them from shops.
14. The city with few cars
In Houten, the general population has decided to ride bicycles rather than drive, making it the safest city in the world. The main street is exclusively for bicyclists, with no automobiles allowed. The entire town was built up with cyclists in mind, with even railroad tracks elevated for ease of bicycling.
15. Food Valley
With over 1500 food companies from all over the world and 20 food research institutes, Food Valley is one of the largest food communities on the planet. The research being done there has led to remarkable innovations like a cell phone mini-scanner that analyzes food content and nutritional values, and a robot that harvests peppers. Research is constantly ongoing to provide specialized foods for restrictive diets and give farmers the tools they need to infuse their products with extra nutrients.
16. Air Vacuum
The Dutch have invented an enormous filtration device that can be placed atop buildings and function as a vacuum cleaner to pull impurities from the air. Each device can pull air from seven kilometers in height and covers a radius of 300 meters. It filters nearly 800,000 cubic meters of polluted air in an hour and removes 100% of impurities from it.
The Dutch are no strangers to innovative ways and have led the world in music and art in the past. These sixteen ways Netherland is leading the world to a brighter future will have even more of an impact than Rembrandt or Vermeer.