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The Netherlands benefits from billions of euros in EU subsidies for infrastructure.

The European Union announced last year that it is investing 6,2 billion euros in sustainable, safe and efficient transport infrastructure in several member states, including the Netherlands. This investment comes from the EU funding program Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which aims to improve transport connections between EU countries and promote the integration of different modes of transport. The Netherlands will receive a significant portion of these funds for various transport projects, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and road safety.

One of the most notable projects in the Netherlands is the expansion and modernization of the railway infrastructure around Amsterdam Central Station. This project, which receives EUR 70.275.540,30 in EU support and is coordinated by ProRail, should lead to a significant capacity expansion. New tracks are being constructed, platforms and stairs are being expanded and passenger tunnels are being modernized. The aim is to manage increasing rail traffic flows, including international freight transport, more efficiently.

In addition, EUR 9.045.338,00 will be invested in removing bottlenecks on the cross-border railway route between Venlo and Kaldenkirchen. This project, coordinated by the municipality of Venlo, focuses on the removal of a complex railway crossing at 'de Vierpaardjes'. Creating an underpass for road traffic increases road safety and improves the competitiveness of rail transport.

The IJmond Energy Port in Ijmuiden also receives significant support with a subsidy of 2.037.610,00 euros for preparatory studies into the construction of basic port infrastructure for the offshore wind industry. This project, coordinated by Havenbedrijf Amsterdam NV, is aimed at developing the infrastructure necessary for the growth of offshore wind farms, which contributes to the sustainable energy supply of the Netherlands.

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In Limburg, the Rhombus UPSIDE II project is supported with 37.395.885,00 euros. This project, coordinated by the Province of Limburg, focuses on the upscaling of inland port infrastructure in Stein, Roermond and Maastricht. By strengthening the inland shipping system between the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, a 'modal shift' from road traffic to inland shipping is promoted, which contributes to regional sustainable development.

Another important project is the modernization of the cross-border railway connection between Ghent and Terneuzen. With EU support of EUR 3.367.083,00, coordinated by North Sea Port Netherlands NV, legal procedures and additional studies required for further development are being pursued. This will lead to a better railway connection between Belgium and the Netherlands.

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In addition to transport projects, the Netherlands also receives significant EU subsidies for other sectors. For example, in 2022 the Netherlands received 2,9 billion euros in subsidies from the European Commission. The largest share, 38 percent, went to research and innovation, mainly for universities and colleges. Other important recipients were agricultural and maritime policies (29 percent) and investments in people, social cohesion and values ​​(9 percent).

In total, the European Union spends the most on agricultural and maritime policy and regional development and cohesion. This expenditure is intended to reduce economic and social inequalities between regions and improve security. The Netherlands receives relatively little for regional development and cohesion, while countries such as Poland receive a large part of their EU subsidies for this.

Interestingly, the Netherlands, together with Germany, receives the least EU subsidies per inhabitant. In 2022, the Netherlands received approximately 200 euros per inhabitant, while Luxembourg, Belgium and the Baltic states received considerably more. This difference can partly be explained by the focus of the subsidies; Luxembourg, for example, receives a relatively large amount for research and innovation and for the financing of European institutions based in that country.

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Despite the significant subsidies, the Netherlands remains a net contributor to the European Union. In 2022, the Netherlands paid approximately 557 euros per inhabitant to the EU, which is 357 euros more than the amount the country received back. However, this does not only apply to the Netherlands; Germany, Ireland and Sweden are also net contributors. However, it does not mean that these countries do not benefit from EU membership, as the benefits are often indirect and long-term.

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