The Netherlands - Society 2050 | Deloitte Netherlands

We’re shaping the future now. Let’s envision what we want our world to look like in 2050. And let’s find each other so we can jointly tackle our biggest challenges in the fields of energy, food, health, mobility and security. Our Society 2050 visions are invitations to clients, partners and anyone else who wants a pleasant planet for future generations, to join us and turn visions into action.

Climate change having disastrous effects on food production, a world that hasn’t weaned itself off fossil fuels, congested cities, skyrocketing healthcare costs, digital infrastructures that are constantly under attack by hackers: it’s easy to be gloomy about our future. Sure, there are plenty of challenges to address so we can hand over a marvellous world to future generations, but the solutions to those challenges are even more numerous.

2050: What a wonderful world

Welcome to 2050. Green hydrogen is a panacea-like solution to all sorts of energy and mobility issues. Our food system is transformed with innovations such as cultured meat and hyper-personalised food that works as a medicine. Data-analytics and AI applications support prevention from illnesses and help doctors with diagnostics and decisions. Autonomous cars, green hydrogen aeroplanes and drone corridors ensure transport is clean, cheap, simple and safe. Cooperation between public and private players, as well as tackling the root causes of crime, make our society much safer.

Although profoundly thought-out, Deloitte’s visions for the future of energy, food, health, mobility and security are just conversation starters. We challenge you to sharpen our visions, and to join us in building that pleasant planet that future generations will be proud of. Each of the six snippets below leads to a more elaborate version of our vision.

Energy: a green and clean society fuelled by electricity and green hydrogen

In 2050 we have tackled the challenge of climate change. We have abandoned noisy trucks, we enjoy top-quality air, and we cherish the great number of jobs in sustainable industries.

The Netherlands is now the global leader in green industry. This is enabled by cheap offshore wind electricity from our shallow-water North Sea and offshore green hydrogen production. A new CO₂ infrastructure connects carbon producers and users, enabling the reuse of carbon. Carbon taxes have resulted in more local production facilities. And getting cheap products from other continents has become more expensive as the burden on our climate grows.

Transport has undergone a major makeover: it’s now fully electric or based on green hydrogen and thus (almost entirely) emission-free. Finally, all our homes are climate-neutral. They have solar panels, are all-electric or connected to heat distribution networks, and possibly have hybrid hydrogen, electricity and biomass solutions.

Food: a system without compromise that's sustainable, healthy, and even-handed

We value the true cost of food in 2050: the costs of the impact food has on our environment and health are included in food prices. As a result, we eat more locally and responsibly grown, seasonal and healthy foods. Food is tailored precisely to our individual body and lifestyle, and prevents us from becoming ill. This hyper-personalised food even works as a medicine, helping to prevent and cure obesity and numerous chronic illnesses.

Farming efficiency is unprecedented due to AI, an abundance of data and, consequently, the ability to act immediately. Thanks to genome-based enhancements and precision farming, maximal yields are realised while operating in synergy with the environment, including helping nature flourish through regenerative agriculture.

The Netherlands has become the global protein hub, where innovations linked to taste, texture and health benefits are continuously explored. Using stem cells, factories produce animal protein, requiring just a fraction of land and creating just a fraction of pollution compared to traditionally produced animal protein – while retaining the same nutritional value.

Health: big-time health improvements thanks to a holistic view

The paradigm has shifted in 2050. We focus on health rather than healthcare, and our time, energy and resources are primarily devoted to staying healthy. We achieve a lot more due to a holistic view of health, which focuses on our overall well-being. This view has extended the health ecosystem to other industries, such as food, retail, finance and technology.

The shift to health is largely enabled by data-driven technologies that support prevention and early diagnostics. All sorts of devices and sensors inside and outside our bodies continuously collect data and provide us with real-time feedback. Advanced interventions – such as apps that can diagnose depression – are accessible, easy and affordable. Doctors utilise data-analytics and AI applications for diagnostics and decisions about the treatment of their patients.

Since we live in a healthy environment, lead a healthy lifestyle and are encouraged by our employers to take care of our own well-being, our public health has improved to a much greater degree.

Mobility: transport is clean, simple, cheap and completely autonomous

Drones that take us from the city centre to the airport within a matter of minutes, green planes that fly across the ocean on hydrogen, self-driving cars that enable us to continue our journey while we sleep… Due to these kinds of innovations in 2050, transport for people and goods will be comfortable, seamless, cheap, accessible to all, accident-free and – last but not least – almost completely emission-free and autonomous.

The self-driving car has turned out to be a huge game-changer. Flying is now clean thanks to batteries and green hydrogen. We’re travelling a great deal from regional airports in smaller aircrafts. With easy booking concepts, we’re able to get from point to point by air with ease.

All maritime transport is climate neutral by 2050. Electric, self-driving people movers help to keep cities liveable and prevent congestion. And as for the currently much-hyped Hyperloop: it will only play a marginal role due to its challenging business case.

Security: private-public ecosystems and crime tackled at the roots

Mid 21st-century, robust, interconnected ecosystems made up of both public and private players in the national and international domain guarantee security. In these collaborations, information, experience and skills are shared for more clout. Public-private (inter)national agencies counter terrorism, protect our critical infrastructures such as our electricity and gas networks, manage migration flows and the risks of climate change on a global scale, and secure the Netherlands as a digital gateway to the world.

Citizens’ data privacy, access to electricity and the Internet, phone connections and more are protected and guaranteed by consortiums of public agencies, firms and other stakeholders. Each citizen has a single digital identity, which obviates the need to have different accounts for banking, governmental services or social media.

In 2050 the government has tackled the root causes of crime through, among other things, improved education opportunities and societal projects for at-risk groups. Furthermore, crime is real-time detected since smart algorithms can analyse huge amounts of data for suspect behaviour.

Our society in 2050

By connecting our businesses, people and society, we can make the most impact. By working together, we can tackle society’s biggest challenges and prepare for our society in 2050 today.

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Dominique van Seggelen
Partner, Society 2050 ambassador