Every day my boyfriend and I commute through the Utrecht Centraal station. We noticed signs on the train platforms and advertisements inside the station hall with “CU 2030” written on them. We understood from the pictures that it was something related to renovations of the train station and adjacent shopping centre. But what we didn’t understand was the 2030 part.
2030? That’s an eternity away… like, 20 years away.
Curious to learn more about the project, my boyfriend stopped into the CU 2030 public information centre (the fact that such an information centre even exists is yet another reason to love the Dutch – when have you seen a public construction project with a personal, human touch?!). He pointed out to the woman behind the desk that 2030 is decades away – by that time, we might very well be dead, or at least not living in Utrecht any more. Isn’t the timeline a bit far into the future?
The woman answered, “It’s for our children” and handed him a professionally designed informative project brochure, duly decorated with photos of various happy children wearing construction hard hats. The brochure showed how extensive the project is, involving not only a totally renovated train station and shopping mall, but also a new library, music centre, casino, cineplex, and hotel (not to mention the replacement of a road with the restoration of the canal that originally flowed in its place). So, no wonder it won’t be finished before 2030.
What impresses me is how forward planning the Dutch are. I mean, we all know the Dutch like to plan social dates weeks in advance, but investing in such a long-term public works project that will primarily benefit the next generation of society definitely deserves some respect. Even if I’m a bit miffed that I won’t be around to enjoy it myself.