Worldwide climate effects - Risks and opportunities for the Netherlands

Natural disasters due to weather extremes occur frequently, both in Europe and in the rest of the world. In the first decade of the 21st century, for example, 3000 natural disasters were reported worldwide due to flooding, heatwaves, drought, storms and cyclones. Climate change means that disasters such as these could occur more often. The Netherlands is a trading nation and maintains relationships with many countries in Europe and the world, through economic and production chains, the power grid, and ICT and transport networks. Many Dutch citizens travel abroad for their work or holidays. The Netherlands and its citizens are therefore at risk of climate change that occurs elsewhere in the world.

Most important climate risks and opportunities

On a global scale, the most important climate risks are related to disruptions to economic chains and the possibility of political tension. In Europe, the climate risks with the greatest impact are related to the international power grid and ICT networks. Giving adaptation to climate change a more prominent place in foreign policy will create international opportunities for the Netherlands; for example, in the fields of international stability, agriculture and urban planning and development. The activities of Dutch companies and academic institutions are held in high regard, worldwide. Added value will be created by incorporating climate adaptation as a specific element in projects.

Starting points for the National Adaptation Strategy

This report shows that it is important that the National Adaptation Strategy addresses the risks and opportunities of global climate change. If government authorities, the private sector and research institutes, today would start to specifically take climate risks and opportunities into account in policy and strategic investment decisions, this will bring benefits to the Netherlands.


Marijke Vonk (PBL), Arno Bouwman (PBL), Rob van Dorland (KNMI) and Hans Eerens (PBL)


Publication title
Worldwide climate effects - Risks and opportunities for the Netherlands
Publication date
4 November 2015
Publication type
Product number