Five years ago, I invested in Tim Kreukniet’s company Energy Transition New York as a way of stimulating Dutch Cleantech companies in the United States. Some of the most notable successes are EV BOX USA (selling Dutch charging poles: https://www.evbox.us/)
In 2014 FastNed founder Bart Lubbers approached me with the idea to exploit fast-charging stations in the Netherlands. Fastned grew its network in England en Germany and went to the Amsterdam stock exchange in 2019.
I try to make study trips to foreign cities every year. It is important (and fun) to share knowledge and to experience a new system for yourself. Afterward, a more in-depth conversation with experts and policymakers is possible.
Legendary was the first trip to California in 2012 to see how the introduction of electric transport was going on the West Coast. The last years I have furthermore been to Germany (Stuttgart and Koln), Paris, Bilbao, London, New York and Los Angelos (USA). To, among others, bike on new cycleways in Los Angelos and try the expanded metro line (Paris).
Although the systems, languages, and cultures differ, the essential questions are the same.
Proud? yes! After a discussion for new policies, I offered the idea to let people experience an alternative form of transportation to work for a month. Experience what works for you, not only talk about it.
In five years, 200 corporate company’s, like Unilever, EY, and Microsoft let their approximately 10.000 employees leave their car at home for a month. They let them experience driving a bike to work, using public transport or try another form of transportation. The result: after five years, 30% structurally changed their means of transportation.
In the very early stage (2008) I got involved in the introduction of electric transport (bicycles, cars, busses and in the longer term trucks). I established a branch association DOET (Dutch Organisation for Electric Vehicles, www.doetdoet.nl). Furthermore, I was a member of the Formule E-team (the national program public-private partnership, to introduce electric transport to Holland) and helped 50 corporate companies changing their fleet management and company policy.
In 2012, I took a huge career step, joining a very small and unknown NGO, Urgenda. That would change rapidly. Rarely I have learned so much in practice about sustainability and transition management than working with director Marjan Minnesma (4x number 1 in the Dutch ‘Sustainable 100’-list).