“I want smart blue zones in the Netherlands”

Have you ever heard of blue zones? Blue zones are areas where people live longer, happier and more vital lives. There are currently five different blue zones in the world: in Sardinia, Greece, Japan, Costa Rica and California. These are the areas where people have been found to live longer, happier and more vital lives than in the rest of the world. These blue zones have developed over the past few centuries, so they’re not something that will happen overnight in the Netherlands. However, I’m convinced that we can transform our environment in such a way that we can live longer, better and healthier lives here. And wouldn’t it be nice if we at VolkerWessels could contribute to this? Building quality of life together is our motto.


Technologically driven zone

My ambition for VolkerWessels is to develop smart blue zones: technology-driven zones with a circular economy that is less vulnerable and wasteful, thereby improving the quality of life for the people who live there. The use of smart technology, connectivity and artificial intelligence will play a key role in this.

Utilising technology

A few weeks ago, someone asked me whether I was concerned about all those technologies being developed at a pace that people can’t keep up with. The doomsday scenario is a world in which we are taken over by technology and oppressed by Terminator-like robots. On the contrary, I thought. What I fear is a world in which we’re not using the full potential of all available technologies to maintain and improve our quality of life – a world where urban challenges held us captive because we were too afraid to use technology in a strategic way.

Vision and courage

Imagine a smart blue zone in which we work together and cleverly reuse everything that’s available, and where high-tech food printers, robots and smart mobility give us peace of mind. Cities full of shared self-driving electric cars that serve as public transport. Neighbourhoods where everyone is self-sufficient thanks to an innovative decentralised energy system and where we convert CO2 into base materials for new products.

The future is challenging, but we can control it ourselves. It takes vision and courage to put it into practice!

Jaap Hulshoff is Head of Operations at VolkerWessels Telecom | Hybrid Access. As an ambassador for Quality of Life at VolkerWessels, he is also actively committed to a sustainable society and the development of sustainable products and services. If you have any questions and suggestions for Jaap, then email