Dutch and Belgian Queens visit Smart Sustainable District Utrecht

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Queen Mathilde of Belgium visited the city of Utrecht on Wednesday 30 November as part of the state visit of the King and Queen of Belgium to the Netherlands. They got a brief explanation about  Climate-KIC’s  Smart Sustainable Districts programme Utrecht.

Queen Maxima and Queen Mathilde arrived by train for a tour of the new Central Station, followed by a presentation in City Hall on the developments in the district.

The Utrecht Central Station area has been selected as an icon for sustainable transformation by the European Climate-KIC programme Smart Sustainable Districts. Carolien van Hemel, director of USI, was invited to give a brief explanation about the Smart Sustainable Districts project in Utrecht. In this project, several European research institutes will specify the sustainable ambitions of Jaarbeurs and the Municipality of Utrecht and will provide decisive input for the redevelopment plans.

Mayor Jan van Zanen, alderman Victor Everhardt, area development director Martin Mulder of the Municipality of Utrecht and Jaarbeurs director Rob van der Heijden were also present.

About Smart Sustainable Districts

Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) is a consortium of city districts working together to accelerate the expertise and best practice needed to transition cities to zero-carbon living. It is one of Climate-KIC’s flagship programmes.


A ‘smart sustainable district’ is characterised by low carbon mobility, smart grids, energy neutral buildings, efficient water management and accessible, public green space. All of this is underpinned by responsive technologies that optimise resources. A smart sustainable district also promotes well-being and sustainable lifestyles.

SSD at a Glance

  • Cities have ambitious climate goals but can struggle to bridge the gap between aspiration and the practical steps needed
  • Districts have the autonomy and optimum scale for testing and implementing innovation 
  • A lack of implementation frameworks and joined-up policy hinders district development
  • SSD starts dialogue and creates the tools and frameworks to accelerate implementation 
  • The programme now comprises nine districts across Europe and is expanding globally

Click here for more information about our Smart Sustainable Districts programme.