Randstad

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Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstad
circle 528 380 26 Schiphol
rect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeer
Haarlemmermeer
Haarlemmermeer is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is a polder, consisting of land reclaimed from water, and the name Haarlemmermeer means Haarlem's Lake, still referring to the body of water from which the region was reclaimed in the 19th century.Its main...


rect 399 166 479 245 Velsen
Velsen
Velsen is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is located on both sides of the North Sea Canal.On the north side of the North Sea Canal, in IJmuiden, there is a major steel plant, Corus Strip Products IJmuiden, formerly known as Koninklijke Hoogovens...


circle 250 716 32 Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....


circle 220 642 60 The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...


circle 456 569 27 Alphen aan den Rijn
Alphen aan den Rijn
Alphen aan den Rijn is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, between Leiden and Utrecht. The town is situated on the banks of the river Oude Rijn , where the river Gouwe branches off. The municipality had a population of 72,674 in 2010, and covers an...


circle 555 201 52 Zaanstad
Zaanstad
Zaanstad is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its main town is Zaandam. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.-Population centres:...


circle 999 168 42 Lelystad
Lelystad
Lelystad is a municipality and a city in the centre of the Netherlands, and it is the capital of the province of Flevoland. The city, built on reclaimed land, was founded in 1967 and was named after Cornelis Lely, who engineered the Afsluitdijk, making the reclamation possible...


circle 798 474 29 Hilversum
Hilversum
is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Located in the region called "'t Gooi", it is the largest town in that area. It is surrounded by heathland, woods, meadows, lakes, and smaller villages...


circle 492 692 34 Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....


circle 347 654 31 Zoetermeer
Zoetermeer
Zoetermeer is a city in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 37.06 km² . A small village until the late 1960s, it had 6,392 inhabitants in 1950...


circle 944 532 40 Amersfoort
Amersfoort
Amersfoort is a municipality and the second largest city of the province of Utrecht in central Netherlands. The city is growing quickly but has a well-preserved and protected medieval centre. Amersfoort is one of the largest railway junctions in the country, because of its location on two of the...


circle 521 24 33 Alkmaar
Alkmaar
Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Noord Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination.-History:...


circle 442 294 44 Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...


circle 466 943 36 Dordrecht
Dordrecht
Dordrecht , colloquially Dordt, historically in English named Dort, is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, located in the province of South Holland. It is the fourth largest city of the province, having a population of 118,601 in 2009...


circle 334 537 30 Leiden
circle 840 314 50 Almere
Almere
Almere is a planned city and municipality in the province of Flevoland, the Netherlands, bordering Lelystad and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere comprises the districts Almere Stad, Almere Haven, Almere Buiten, Almere Hout, Almere Poort and Almere Pampus .Almere is the youngest city in the...


rect 245 738 400 869 Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...


rect 13 725 81 789 Port of Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...


rect 82 749 116 788 Port of Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...


rect 117 778 148 803 Port of Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...


rect 120 804 209 835 Port of Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...


rect 158 826 247 857 Port of Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...


circle 742 617 53 Utrecht (city)
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...


circle 615 324 88 Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...



For the temporary employment company see Randstad Holding
Randstad Holding
Randstad Holding N.V. is an international company offering temporary staffing and HR services. Randstad was founded in the Netherlands in 1960 by Frits Goldschmeding and operates in around 40 countries. In 2010, the company achieved a turnover of €14.2 billion and a net profit of €288.5 million...

.


The Randstad is a conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

 in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. It consists of the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 and Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

), and the surrounding areas. With a population of 7,100,000 it is one of the largest conurbations in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 , comparable in size to Milan
Milan metropolitan area
The Milan metropolitan area, known as Grande Milano , is the urban agglomeration around the city of Milan, Italy.The spatial spread of the Milan metropolitan area has greatly accelerated over recent decades...

 or the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

.
The Randstad covers an area of approximately 8287 km² .

The Randstad's main cities are Almere
Almere
Almere is a planned city and municipality in the province of Flevoland, the Netherlands, bordering Lelystad and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere comprises the districts Almere Stad, Almere Haven, Almere Buiten, Almere Hout, Almere Poort and Almere Pampus .Almere is the youngest city in the...

, Amersfoort
Amersfoort
Amersfoort is a municipality and the second largest city of the province of Utrecht in central Netherlands. The city is growing quickly but has a well-preserved and protected medieval centre. Amersfoort is one of the largest railway junctions in the country, because of its location on two of the...

, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

, Dordrecht
Dordrecht
Dordrecht , colloquially Dordt, historically in English named Dort, is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, located in the province of South Holland. It is the fourth largest city of the province, having a population of 118,601 in 2009...

, Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....

, Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

, Hilversum
Hilversum
is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Located in the region called "'t Gooi", it is the largest town in that area. It is surrounded by heathland, woods, meadows, lakes, and smaller villages...

, Leiden, Oostzaan
Oostzaan
Oostzaan is a municipality and a town in the Zaanstreek, Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. The town has a population of 9.104 inhabitats in december 2010. Oostzaan has got 11.49 km² land and 4.64 km² water....

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 (Den Haag in Dutch), Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

, and Zoetermeer
Zoetermeer
Zoetermeer is a city in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality covers an area of 37.06 km² . A small village until the late 1960s, it had 6,392 inhabitants in 1950...

. Other centres include Alphen aan den Rijn
Alphen aan den Rijn
Alphen aan den Rijn is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, between Leiden and Utrecht. The town is situated on the banks of the river Oude Rijn , where the river Gouwe branches off. The municipality had a population of 72,674 in 2010, and covers an...

, Amstelveen
Amstelveen
' is a suburban municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam. The municipality of Amstelveen consists of the following villages and/or districts: Amstelveen, Bovenkerk, Westwijk, Bankras-Kostverloren, Groenelaan, Waardhuizen,...

, Barendrecht
Barendrecht
Barendrecht is a town in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 43,104 in 2007, and covers an area of 21.72 km² of which 1.45 km² is water....

, Capelle aan den IJssel
Capelle aan den IJssel
Capelle aan den IJssel is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 65,605 in 2005, and covers an area of 15.42 km² of which 1.13 km² is water...

, Hoofddorp
Hoofddorp
Hoofddorp is the main town of the Haarlemmermeer municipality in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. In 2009, the population was just over 73,000...

, Hoek van Holland
Hoek van Holland
The Hook of Holland , also known in English as the Hook, is a town in South Holland in the Netherlands. It is situated on the North Sea coast, on the north bank of the Nieuwe Waterweg ship canal. The town is administered by the municipality of Rotterdam as a district of that city...

, Houten
Houten
Houten is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. The expected population in 2015 will be 50,000. The municipality consists of the following towns:* Houten * 't Goy * Schalkwijk...

, Katwijk
Katwijk
Katwijk is a coastal municipality and town in the province of South Holland in the western Netherlands. It has a population of 61,292.-Location:...

, Leidschendam
Leidschendam
Leidschendam is a town and former municipality in the province of South Holland of the Netherlands. Along with Voorburg and Stompwijk, it is part of the municipality Leidschendam-Voorburg.- History :...

, Maassluis
Maassluis
Maassluis is a town in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 32,847 in 2004, and covers an area of 10.11 km² .It received city rights in 1811...

, Nieuwegein
Nieuwegein
Nieuwegein is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is bordered on the north by the city of Utrecht, the provincial capital...

, Purmerend
Purmerend
Purmerend is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.The city is surrounded by polders, such as the Purmer, Beemster and the Wormer. The city became the trade center of the region but the population grew relatively slow. Only after 1960 did the population...

, Rijswijk
Rijswijk
Rijswijk is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. It is a suburb of The Hague and covers an area of 14.48 km² ....

, Schiedam
Schiedam
Schiedam is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is part of the Rotterdam metropolitan area. The city is located west of Rotterdam, east of Vlaardingen and south of Delft...

, Spijkenisse
Spijkenisse
Spijkenisse is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 74,482 in 2006, and covers an area of 30.23 km²...

, Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen
Vlaardingen is a town in South Holland in the Netherlands. It is located on the north bank of the Nieuwe Maas/Nieuwe Waterweg river at the confluence with the Oude Maas...

, Voorburg
Voorburg
Voorburg is a Dutch town and former municipality in the western part of the province of South Holland, the Netherlands. As also Leidschendam and Stompwijk, it is part of the municipality Leidschendam-Voorburg. It has approximately 39,000 inhabitants....

, Zeist
Zeist
Zeist is a municipality and a town in the central Netherlands, located east of the city of Utrecht.-Population centres :*Austerlitz*Bosch en Duin*Den Dolder*Huis ter Heide*Zeist- The town of Zeist :...

 and Zaanstad
Zaanstad
Zaanstad is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its main town is Zaandam. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.-Population centres:...

.

The cities of the Randstad more or less form a crescent or chain. This shape has given the Randstad its name (rand means rim or edge and stad means city or town). The area that is enclosed by the larger cities is called the Green Heart (Groene Hart
Groene Hart
The Groene Hart is a relatively thinly populated area in the Dutch Randstad. The major Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Den Haag, Leiden, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Utrecht lie around this area...

).

Controversy


Over the last few decades, a major topic in the Randstad is the conflict between the cities and the towns in between. These towns and the surrounding countryside, known as the Groene Hart
Groene Hart
The Groene Hart is a relatively thinly populated area in the Dutch Randstad. The major Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Den Haag, Leiden, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Utrecht lie around this area...

(Green Heart), are usually much greener than the cities, they house many commuters that work in the cities and the former strongly depend on the latter for facilities such as hospitals and large scale entertainment. Cities need more space to expand, yet the towns fear losing their identity and autonomy.

An issue regarding the Randstad is the question of its borders. Nobody can tell for certain where the Randstad begins, and where it ends. Some consider only the four biggest cities of the Netherlands (Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 and Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

) part of it, others would say that areas such as Alkmaar
Alkmaar
Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Noord Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market. For tourists, it is a popular cultural destination.-History:...

 (which is representing itself as being part of it), Hoorn
Hoorn
-Cities :* Purmerend * Enkhuizen * Alkmaar * Amsterdam * Lelystad * Den Helder * Leeuwarden -Towns :* Edam...

 and Lelystad
Lelystad
Lelystad is a municipality and a city in the centre of the Netherlands, and it is the capital of the province of Flevoland. The city, built on reclaimed land, was founded in 1967 and was named after Cornelis Lely, who engineered the Afsluitdijk, making the reclamation possible...

 are also part of this conurbation. The publication "Randstad 2040", released by the Dutch government, reveals that the Noordvleugel (North Wing) (Amsterdam and Utrecht region) is already growing parallel to the A1, A2, and A4 motorways, as well as into the northern part of North Holland (Alkmaar region) and Flevoland (Lelystad region). There is also a trend shown that the Noordvleugel are expanding parallel to the A2 (Amsterdam towards Eindhoven) and A12 (Utrecht towards the WERV (Wageningen
Wageningen
' is a municipality and a historical town in the central Netherlands, in the province of Gelderland. It is famous for Wageningen University, which specializes in life sciences. The city has 37,414 inhabitants , of which many thousands are students...

-Ede
Ede
Ede may refer to:* Locations:** Ede, Netherlands** Ede, Nigeria* People and languages** the Ede people of Vietnam** Ede languages , languages related to Yoruba spoken by a million people in Benin* Given names...

-Rhenen
Rhenen
Rhenen is a municipality and a city in the central Netherlands.The municipality also includes the villages of Achterberg, Remmerden, Elst and Laareind. The town lies at a geographically interesting location, namely on the southernmost part of the chain of hills known as the Utrecht Hill Ridge ,...

-Veenendaal)) motorways. This region is called the 'Zuidoostflank' (Southeastside).

Culture in the Randstad



The Randstad has a history of competition. For instance, between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the two main cities compete on many levels, from football to art. Lately the cultural sector has tried to limit this rivalry and look for mutual strength. The main cultural organisations in Amsterdam, such as the Concertgebouw and Holland Festival, have joined forces with similar organisations in Rotterdam, via A'R'dam. In 2007 these organisations published a manifesto with plans for co-operation. One of the goals is to strengthen the international position of culture and art in the Netherlands in the international context.

Randstad Wings and other planners' thoughts


Recently, Dutch planners have started to refer to the Randstad as Deltametropool. Deltametropolis actually consists of two large metropolitan areas:

1. The Noordvleugel (with a population of around 3.6 million people), consisting of the Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

 and IJmuiden conurbations in the west, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

 at the centre and Almere
Almere
Almere is a planned city and municipality in the province of Flevoland, the Netherlands, bordering Lelystad and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere comprises the districts Almere Stad, Almere Haven, Almere Buiten, Almere Hout, Almere Poort and Almere Pampus .Almere is the youngest city in the...

 and the Gooi
Gooi
Het Gooi is the area around Hilversum in the centre of the Netherlands. It is a slightly hilly area characterised by its green landscape, its historical charm, the wealth of its inhabitants, and its villas. Het Gooi is known in the Netherlands as the home of the rich and famous.- Name :The name...

 area in the east. The conurbation of Utrecht (pop. around an extra 1 million) could also be considered to be part of the North Wing. The main center is however clearly Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, which could - as such - be considered a classical centralistic metropole. Amsterdam recently started to present itself as the Amsterdam metropolitan area
Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
The Amsterdam metropolitan area is a name given to the monocentric metropolitan area around the Dutch capital Amsterdam...

 (Metropool regio Amsterdam). The expectation is that the use of Noordvleugel and the Randstad will become less as a result. This part of the Randstad is expected to grow more in population than the Zuidvleugel and the Groene Hart/Green Heart areas, with the growth of population also being in effect for a longer period of time, compared to the other two areas.

2. The Zuidvleugel
Zuidvleugel
Zuidvleugel is a way of describing the band of cities and towns located along the southern wing of the Randstad in the Netherlands. It is that part of the Randstad that is located in the Province of South Holland. This developing conurbation extends around 60 kilometres from Dordrecht to Leiden...

(South Wing, with a population of around 3.5 million people), stretching some 60 kilometers from Dordrecht
Dordrecht
Dordrecht , colloquially Dordt, historically in English named Dort, is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, located in the province of South Holland. It is the fourth largest city of the province, having a population of 118,601 in 2009...

 in the South East to Leiden in the North. The main conurbations are the Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 and The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 areas. The virtual centre of the Zuidvleugel lies in between these two major cities, near Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

. The first steps toward this development are currently being taken with the construction of a new fast light-rail connection between Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 and The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

: RandstadRail
RandstadRail
RandstadRail network in the southern part of the Randstad conurbation in the west of the Netherlands, connecting The Hague, Zoetermeer and Rotterdam, consists of a metro-like line between The Hague and Rotterdam and two light rail lines between The Hague and Zoetermeer...

. A long delayed extension of the western A4-motorway from the south of Delft
Delft
Delft is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland , the Netherlands. It is located between Rotterdam and The Hague....

 to Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 has also been put back on the administrative agenda, creating a second connection between Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, via The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, to Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

.

A possible new area would be the Zuidoostflank; parallel to the A2 motorway (from Amsterdam to Eindhoven) and parallel to the A12 motorway (Utrecht to WERV (Wageningen, Ede, Rhenen and Veenendaal)), as this region has much potential to strengthen the knowledge economy
Knowledge economy
The knowledge economy is a term that refers either to an economy of knowledge focused on the production and management of knowledge in the frame of economic constraints, or to a knowledge-based economy. In the second meaning, more frequently used, it refers to the use of knowledge technologies to...

 of the Randstad.

Knowledge and Innovation Community


Randstad is one of co-location centres of Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation) of The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

The Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) met on 16 December in Budapest to designate the first three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).

Sustainable energy - Co-location centres: Karlsruhe
Karlsruhe
The City of Karlsruhe is a city in the southwest of Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, located near the French-German border.Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city states...

, Krakow
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, Eindhoven / Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

, Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

, Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation - Co-location centres :
London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Zürich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 metropolitan area, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 metropolitan area, Randstad metropolitan area.

Future information and communication society - Co-location centres:
Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Eindhoven, Helsinki
Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 and Stockholm
Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

.

Transport


The Randstad possesses a large infrastructure system, with many railways, motorways, trams and subways in various cities. Home to various mainports, transport is an important issue in the Randstad, with the port of Rotterdam, and Schiphol airport. There are various smaller ports and airports in the Randstad, like the ports of IJmuiden, Amsterdam and Dordrecht, as well as Rotterdam - The Hague airport.

Motorways


The Randstad has various motorways, most of them starting around Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Many international corridors start in the Randstad, including the A1, A2, A4, A7, A12, A15, A16 and A20 motorways, as well as various commuter routes.

Most motorways suffer from severe congestion, and are home to many bottlenecks, mostly outdated tunnels, viaducts and bridges. The Randstad, like much of the Netherlands, has a large number of waterways, and motorway tunnels and bridges are usually the only way to cross major bodies of water. Additionally, the canals in the Randstad are often spanned by raising briges, including bridges carrying major roads and motorways. Problems are commonly found at the Coentunnel, Ringvaart Aqueduct, Vechtbridge, Moerdijkbridge, Heinenoordtunnel, Beneluxtunnel and Brienenoordbridge.

Traffic jams can occur at any time of the day; however rush hour lasts from 6.00 am to 10.00 am and from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm.

Major bottlenecks can create traffic jams up to 30 kilometers in length. Most motorways are no wider than 2x2 or 2x3 lanes, despite having some of the highest traffic volumes in Europe. Some hard shoulders are in use as peak hour lanes - traffic is allowed to use the hard shoulder as a 3rd lane during periods of congestion, when signs indicate. Because of the lack of sufficient minor roads, a lot of local traffic also uses the motorways.

There are a few missing links in the motorway network of the Randstad, especially on the A4 motorway, where construction has been a topic of debate since the 1960s.

Another growing issue is the number of trucks on the radiating motorways from the Randstad: truck volumes can be as high as 20,000 trucks per day, occupying the entire right lane on some motorways.

Railways


The Randstad is the keystone of the Dutch railway network; most intercity connections terminate in one of the key cities in the Randstad. The railway network in the area is dense and heavily used. Delays used to be common, but in the last few years services have improved; together with the Swiss Federal Railways (#1), and the Belgian railways (#3), the Dutch Railways is in the top 3 of Europe. Larger cities in the Randstad have many railway stations, as well as light rail, subway and/or tram networks.

Cycling


Much effort is being expended in increasing the cycling rate of the Randstad. The campaign Fietsfilevrij exists to encourage cycling as an alternative to waiting in traffic jams on the motorway.

Bicycle superhighways have been built on which cyclists have priority for long distance, high speed cycle commuting. For instance, one of these stretches the 50 km distance between Amsterdam and Utrecht.

External links