Lelyline train
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Dina Boonstra: "Lelyline gives (Northern) Netherlands center function"

Dina Boonstra 2021 01 Dina Boonstra

A new, high-speed train connection between the North and Amsterdam offers great opportunities, especially if the line is extended to the German rail network. For starters, for the Northern Netherlands. Good for business, good for exports, good for the environment, and an answer to the challenges of population shrinkage. Moreover, the Lelyline is not only very desirable for the North, but also for the rest of the country.


Realtors always exclaim that with a house, only three things matter: location, location, location. Well now, for a healthy business climate I also have three: accessibility, accessibility, accessibility. The Lelyline significantly reduces the distance to the Western Netherlands. For (large) companies looking for a place to locate, this makes the Northern Netherlands more interesting in one fell swoop.


Of course, it would be great if the travel time between Groningen and Amsterdam could be a lot shorter. Actually, it is strange that motorists have long known that the route via Heerenveen, Drachten and Emmeloord is the shortest, but train passengers still have to go via Zwolle. Drachten doesn't even have a train station, even though 45,000 people live there. A better connection offers the possibility of living further from work, making the Northern Netherlands even more attractive than it already is as a location for living and working. And that is a very welcome opportunity to deal with the problem of population shrinkage.


The stakes are greater than a simple travel time reduction. An extended Lelyline suddenly puts Amsterdam at the center of a trade area between Southern Europe on one side and Northern and Eastern Europe on the other. For the Northern Netherlands, this means new opportunities in both directions. Doing business in both the western Netherlands and northern Germany comes figuratively closer.

More than a century ago, stockbrokers in Amsterdam complained that farmers from the northern Netherlands never came. Why not? Because they preferred to trade in Hamburg. That megacity and certainly Bremen are essentially closer than the western Netherlands, but they feel much further away. The Lely Line - provided it is extended into Germany - can change that. It will make the German hinterland accessible again.


This is not only important for the people who will travel back and forth over that railroad professionally, instead of taking the polluting plane. Not for nothing is there a movement underway that will eventually result in such short air routes being unacceptable. Trains are gaining in importance in this trend anyway. The line from France and Belgium, via Amsterdam and the Northern Netherlands to Germany and beyond, can play an important role in this.

A short connection also brings about a change of mindset. Knowing that German cities are easily accessible creates the feeling that the German market is more approachable. As a result, trading activities as well as the exchange of personnel back and forth will increase. The orientation to the markets in Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe offers a range of new opportunities.

In short, the benefits of the Lelyline are obvious. What matters now is that we, as the Northern Netherlands, make it known en masse that the line must be built. With an extended track from Groningen to Germany.