Building materials and construction: Sustainability, dependency and foreign suppliers

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This chapter describes the extraction of mineral subsoil resources in a changing context of increasing internationalisation and domestic concern for nature and the environment. The cases are gravel and marl in the province of Limburg and the European inventory of strategic mineral resources. The period around 1970 formed the high point of Dutch building activities. The extraction and production of building materials had an increasing impact on the landscape (see Chap. 14). Bringing laws against excavations and spatial planning to bear, the government increased its control over the extraction activities. The new policy integrated the excavations in spatial planning and landscape goals. The politicisation of environmental issues led to the harmonisation of the extraction of mineral resources with the local societal requirements for tourism, nature development, and flood control. Intensification of European cooperation positioned domestic extraction within a European economic framework. Higher prices for gravel and other building materials made recycling, among other things, attractive. The mining of gravel shifted in part to surrounding countries where it resulted in local damage to the landscape. The outsourcing of gravel mining was similar to the overall European offshoring of the mining of mineral subsoil resources. From 2008 the European Commission commenced investigations into strategic mineral resources. The Netherlands followed in its footsteps. Initially, geological, economic and geo-political aspects were the main concerns. In a later phase, environmental issues and working conditions played a role. Developments in the area of well-being and sustainability required not only measures close to home, but also a concern for these issues outside of the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWell-Being, Sustainability and Social Development
Subtitle of host publicationThe Netherlands 1850-2050
EditorsHarry Lintsen, Frank Veraart, Jan-Pieter Smits, John Grin
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783319766966
ISBN (Print)9783319766959
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2018


  • European union
  • Gravel
  • Metals
  • Mineral resources
  • Offshoring


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