Third Industrial Revolution in Rotterdam-The Hague

In South-West of The Netherlands we can find the main political and economical centre of the country. In The Hague we find the heart of the political landscape of the Netherlands. The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Council of State. Just 30 minutes away we arrive in the second biggest city of the Netherlands, Rotterdam. Famous for hotspots as the Erasmusbrug but moreover worldwide-known for the biggest harbour of Europe, the Port of Rotterdam. In addition it facilitates Rotterdam-The Hague airport. In between these cities we find the progressive Technical University of Delft. This metropole Rotterdam-The Hague(MRDH) with great diversity is now hiring an American economic and social theorist; Jeremy Rifkin.

Roadmap Next Economy
Jeremy Rifkin has written 20 books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society and the environment. He is a worldwide know economist and an important advisor to the European Union and Chinese government. Now he will advice the metropole Rotterdam-The Hague with an economic program that will develop the whole region. The ‘Roadmap Next Economy’ will be finished in the summer of 2016. It will be a massive program containing investments and programs for scarcity of raw materials, climate change, digitalizing, robotizing, the rise of 3D printing and unarmed vehicles (van Heel, 2015).
Jeremy Rifkin expects that in 2030 the Port of Rotterdam will be a ‘selfthinking, authorized, transfer-machine driven by mostly superinternet and robots. Manual employees will be needed just in case of disturbances.’ In addition he said that the most important transferred product will be powder for 3D printing (Dirks, 2015).

Rifkin ideas: The Third Industrial Revolution
Rifkins ideas for metropole Rotterdam-The Hague are based on his beliefs written down in his book ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’. Here Rifkin describes how the five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses and millions of jobs. Furthermore it claims to impact the ay we conduct business, govern society, education, and engage in civic life. (Rifkin, 2015)

The five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution are;

  1. Transition from fossil to renewable energies
  2. Transformation of all buildings into mini generating plants
  3. Development and build-up of energy storage technologies and capacities (e.g. hydrogen)
  4. Capitalizing the internet technology for the development of a smart and bi-directional (peer-to-peer) energy-sharing-grid
  5. Transformation of the transportation system to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles
    (Silke, 2015)

Skepticism in the region

Although the ideas may sound progressive, innovating and inspiring, negative voices are heard. Metropole Rotterdam-The Hague (MRDH) pays €775.000 for the advice of Jeremy Rifkins advising group ‘Third Industrial Revolution Consulting Group (TIR CG)’. According to local political parties this is way too much money. Some even call Rifkin a ‘weird activist’ or an ‘overrated capitalist.’ However major of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, sees Rifkin as an inspirable, influent figurehead. His ideas will create new job opportunities and raise the metropole as a whole. Still national and local governances should be very critical to the report of Rifkin. Great presentation of plans should be evaluated to realistic standards. The plans should be feasible and implementable. Time will show us the actual application of the forwardthinking ideas of Rifkin in the metropole. It might become a success.




Dirks B. (2015), De Volkskrant, [Accessed 12th October]

Heel van L. (2015), Het Algemeen Dagblad, [Accessed 13th October]

Rifkin J. (2015), [Accessed 12th October]

Silke (2015), [Accessed 12th October]





2 responses to “Third Industrial Revolution in Rotterdam-The Hague”

  1. mhouthuijsen says :

    As compared to all revolutionary ideas, they are opposed by a group performing under the old idea. For those ideas a price has to be paid. In contrary to Aboutaleb, my opinion is that this is a huge amount of money for a highly uncertain outcome. One can assume that the proposed solutions will be similar to the arguments used in his books and based on the pillars that are mentioned.
    If that would be the case, there is no added value created by the report that is produced. As stated in the article by Silke (2015), Rifkin’s reason for the third industrial revolution is “triggered by the co-occurence of the internet and renewable energies. And both elements promote the development of the local, collaborative and lateral societal and economic structures of the green economy”. Through this, he follows Porter who claims that the economic structure has to change in order to efficiently integrate the use of internet in a company’s strategy. If Rifkin will follow this approach and present new ideas regarding the port of Rotterdam it would be nice. However, until then I remain skeptical if he is worth the money

  2. john waller says :

    Back in the 1980’s,you couldn’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading about Rifkin attacking Biotechnology.He files numerous lawsuits against it.His main objection was that scientists and biotech companies were rushing to use this technology without all the facts.He rasied concerns and issues and warned of unforeseen consequences.But now,with his Third Industrial Revolution,Rifkin’s doing the exact opposite.He’s getting people all riled up and excited and anxious to jump on the Third Industrial Revolution bandwagon and
    make the switch to renewable energy.The problem here is that Rifkin’s not raising concerns and issues with renewable energy like he did with Biotechnology.He’s not questioning the cost and safety of hydrogen storage and the reliability of solar panels and wind generators and their impact on both society and the enviorment.

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