Until the 20th century, wood and peat were the most used energy sources in the Netherlands. Then, coal, oil, and natural gas became alternatives. In 1973, an Arab oil boycott was extended to the Netherlands because it had supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Carless Sundays, in order to save gasoline, were a solution in the short term. The government also started to stimulate the use of re newable energy sources, such as modern windmills and solar collec tors. Dutch society, however, did not appreciate nuclear energy as an alternative. Proposals for new nuclear plants and the presence of such plants in Dodewaard, Gelderland, since 1968 and Borssele, Zee land, since 1973 led to fear and strong protests. In response, the gov ernment decided to close both plants, the first in 1997. The other will remain open until 2033, however, according to a government deci sion in 2006. At any rate, most electricity in the Netherlands is still generated by fossil fuels, of which Dutch natural gas will be available in large quantities for only several more decades. Dutch energy prices have increased tremendously recently. The linking of the Dutch natural gas price to the world’s rising oil prices has been profitable for Dutch state finances, but not, of course, for Dutch citizens of modest means. In order to create more competition, the government decided to lib eralize the energy market as of 1998. In 2004, all households were free to choose their own electricity and gas supplier. They could al ready make a choice for so-called green electricity, which is gener ated by clean sources (such as wind, sun, hydropower, and biomass).
   See also Economy; Petrochemicals.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.


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