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Healthy Zuid-Holland 2040

How can Zuid-Holland become the Netherlands’ healthiest province by 2040? It’s the province facing the heaviest environmental pressures: it contains two of the biggest cities in the country, and urbanisation is set to continue. By 2040, around five million people will live here. To ensure it remains an attractive place to live, work and play over the long term, Zuid-Holland must reinvent itself as a healthy province full of healthy residents. We have conducted a study to help the provincial government to think about this vision and the role it should play, and to formulate an agenda for the future.

Human health is strongly linked to lifestyle and environment. And health problems are more prevalent in urban areas. How can migration to cities be connected to the ambition of creating a healthy environment? Can we turn today’s weakness into tomorrow’s strength?

The study focuses on protecting and promoting good health. We therefore looked not just at the “cure” side of things, medicine’s usual emphasis, but also at preventative “care” opportunities. A final report translates the findings into four storylines:

  1. A healthy action radius – on getting exercise in every stage of life.
  2. A strong foundation – on environmental variables like noise and air quality.
  3. Large and small green spaces – on the impact of nature in the city and the countryside.
  4. Inclusivity – everyone, vulnerable groups included, should participate in work and social relationships.