The Netherlands

Natural gas-free neighbourhoods

The case study examines multiple residential neighbourhoods in the Netherlands. Most Dutch households currently use natural gas to heat their homes. The gas has been mainly produced in the Groningen gas field, in the northeastern part of the Netherlands. However, the exploitation of Groningen has caused increasing earthquakes and damage to the city and nearby areas since the late 1980s. Because of this, the Netherlands has decided that all its neighbourhoods will become natural gas-free by 2050. 

Residents are replacing natural gas with more sustainable options

The transition from natural gas to more sustainable heating methods requires neighbourhood residents to be willing to make investments and renovate their homes. Since 2019, the Dutch national programme on natural gas-free neighbourhoods has supported multiple pilot neighbourhoods in developing natural gas-free heat infrastructures. 

Most of the pilots are led by local cooperatives. The cooperatives design the transition from natural gas to another energy source together with the residents. The Dutch municipalities offer the local cooperatives technological and economical support. We will study these pilots to see what factors and conditions encourage neighbourhood residents to replace natural gas with sustainable district heating. 

We will study how pilot neighbourhoods can become energy role models

In the case study, we will investigate the barriers and drivers of the emergence of energy citizenship within these pilot neighbourhoods by conducting interviews and questionnaires with both the use case owners and members. In order to capture different factors and conditions that stimulate the emergence of energy citizenship, TNO will conduct their case study in close collaboration with multiple pilots and the Dutch national program on natural gas-free neighbourhoods. 

The pilots have received media attention and the neighbourhood residents are already quite well-informed on the transition. The goal of the Dutch national programme is to make these pilots into examples that inspire the transition in other regions of the country as well. We wish to see residents advocating for natural gas-free options and leading the transition towards more sustainable heating. The case study is led by TNO.


Drs. Joke Kort
Senior Research Scientist, TNO

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