Clean Air Dialogue 2021

The Clean Air Dialogue will take place on 17 and 18 February. This dialogue is a unique moment: you can interact directly with the European Commission and other EU-institutions, representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and other stakeholders about Dutch and European air quality policy. The Clean Air Dialogue is for anyone who would like to contribute to the debate about clean air: local administrators and politicians, civil servants and experts, representatives of NGOs and industry.

You can already assure yourself of a place in the front row by registering via this registration link.

We take corona into account: the Clean Air Dialogue mainly takes place digitally. You do not have to go to The Hague, and you can participate in one or more sessions from your own environment.

What can you expect?
In thematic sessions we will discuss the policy, content and practical side of achieving clean air. The central questions are: what is the role of Europe, of the Dutch government, of your organisation and what do we actually expect from each other? All participants will have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the speakers and panel members. After some sessions it is possible to participate in an additional meet-up in which representatives of cities share their experiences of working in European funded projects, in line with the theme of the session.


17 February 2021

11:15 – 11:30  Opening Clean Air Dialogue

  • Didier Herbert, Head of the European Commission's Representation in the Netherlands
  • Roald Lapperre, Director-General for the Environment and International Affairs, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management

11:30 – 12:55  Clean Air Agreement (SLA): involving the general public and the private sector
In this session, the Clean Air Agreement will be presented and focus will be on involving the public and the private sector in the implementation. 

Short introduction pitches by:

  • Karin Blaauw, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • Els van Schie, Director Environment and Safety, Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The health index, which will be one of the key elements in monitoring the health improvement
  • Arno Bonte, Vice Mayor for Sustainability, Clean Air and Energy Transition, city of Rotterdam with focus on the city’s perspective.

The main focus of this session is how the ambition can be realized: how can citizens and the private sector contribute? What can they bring, what are the challenges in bringing them on board?

13:05 – 13:30 Exchange of experiences working in multi-level projects in a European context

  • Hans Verdonk,, EU representative for the city of Rotterdam

This exchange-session is Dutch spoken

14:00 – 15:25 Wood combustion and biomass use in the built environment
Opinions about wood smoke and wood burning are divided. At the dialogue we will discuss progress in this area, possibilities for further action and potential take-up of existing funding opportunities. Ecodesign requirements implementation, consumer information, the use of taxation and funding.

Introductions by: 

  • Michael Rutgers, Lungfund, interest group for Lung patients
  • Rein Gelten, NHK, Dutch organising of hearths and stoves

15:35 – 16:00  Exchange of experiences working in a European context and (EU) funding in the area of domestic heating

  • Mirka van der Elst, Policy advisor Air Quality, Flanders Environment Agency

This exchange-session is Dutch spoken

16:10 – 17:35  Inland Shipping
In this session, the province of South Holland will introduce several initiatives aiming at the greening of inland navigation such as RH2INE and CLINSH. Furthermore the pilot on Clean Inland Shipping will be discussed, which is carried out under the Clean Air Agreement.
Some of the questions to be discussed: what is keeping industry and local governments from reducing the emissions? Could further alignment of climate policy and air policy be helpful? How can we find the alignment? In addition, what would that bring? What would be needed from the side of the national government and how could Europe help us?

Introductions by:

  • Bas Kelderman, Senior policy Officer inland waterway transport Province of South Holland
  • Khalid Tachi, Managing Director Expertise and Innovation Centre inland Barging (EICB)

17:45 – 18:10 Exchange of experiences working in a European context and with (EU) funding in the area of inland shipping

  • Henk Nijhuis, Senior Advisor Air Quality, city of Nijmegen

This exchange-session is Dutch spoken

18 February 2021

9:30  Opening second day of the Clean Air Dialogue

  • René Korenromp, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • Emma van Rest, youth panel on clean air

Key note speech: 

Building a future for the Urban Agenda for the EU; Perspectives from the Committee of the Regions

  • Kieran McCarthy, European Committee of the Regions, Councilor city of Cork, Ireland

10:10 – 11:35 Air quality from local and regional point of view: Spatial and urban planning and emissions from non-road mobile machinery
In this session, the focus will be on the integration of different policies (spatial and urban planning, mobility and air quality) in and around cities and the impact of all these activities on local air quality.
Topics to be discussed: how can cities cope with the pressure from increasing demand for affordable housing, mobility, clean air? What would be needed from Europe and the national government? How can regional planning and cooperation help? Is funding, knowledge or legislation needed? What could be the role of the private sector?
Related to mobile machinery: what can local authorities do? And how can the national government be of assistance and what leverage could Europe provide?


  • Eelco Eerenberg, Alderman health and environment city of Utrecht 
  • Norbert Ligterink, Senior research scientist vehicle emissions at Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)


  • Arjan Kraijo, Alderman spatial planning, sustainability, sports, recreation and tourism, city of Alblasserdam

11:45 -12:15  Closing morning session

  • Virginijus Sinkevičius European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries
  • Stientje van Veldhoven, State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management

12:30-13:15   Clean Air in Europe, ambitions and practical solutions to improve air quality:

  • János Ádám Karácsony, European Committee of the Regions, Elderman city of Tahitótfalu, Hungary
  • Silvia Moroni, Milanese Agency for mobility and the environment (Agenzia Mobilità Ambiente Territorio) 
  •  Marieke Schouten, Alderman sustainability, city of Nieuwegein

13:30 – 14:55  Agriculture and air quality
This session will focus on the effects emissions to the air from the agricultural sector have on air quality and people’s health, as well as effects on nature due to deposition of air pollution. The essence of the session is constructive and forward looking: what can the sector do to become sustainable in the coming years/decades.

The session is organised in close corporation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Due to the current sensitive nature of this topic in the Netherlands, the character of this session will be a bit different from the other five. The session starts with two presentations to set the scene from a scientific perspective and to fill everybody in on the latest information.


  • Albert Winkel researcher Wageningen Livestock Research from the Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
  • Paul Ruyssenaars, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • Hugo van Kasteel Deputy Director, Animal Agricultural Chains and Animal Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality    

15:05 – 15:30  Exchange of experiences working in a European context and with (EU) funding in the area of transport and mobility

  • Sophie Gunnink Project manager sustainable mobility, city of Utrecht
  • Matthijs Kok, advisor electric mobility, city of Utrecht

This exchange-session is Dutch spoken

15:40 – 17:05  Transport, Mobility and Mobile Machinery Road Transport, Mobility and Air Quality
Stricter European requirements for vehicles have already led to cleaner traffic. It shows that regulation works. A further tightening of the European emission requirements for vehicles (cars, trucks, mopeds) is an effective measure to reduce emissions from road traffic. Tighter controls, for example on the operation of AdBlue systems, reinforce the effectiveness of the measures. Adding AdBlue to the exhaust system of diesel engines drastically reduces nitrogen oxide emissions. This is necessary to meet the emission requirements.
Taxes have a major impact on the composition of the vehicle fleet and are therefore a powerful tool for managing emission reduction.


  • Jens Müller Manager Air Quality, Transport & Environment (T&E)
  • Harriët Tiemens Alderman sustainability and housing, city of Nijmegen

17:05 – 17:10  Closing and conclusions

Sign Up
You can sign up via this registration link.