x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Don't just tiptoe through the tulips

The Life: Whether you are an oil executive or green designer, the Netherlands offers plenty of options for the business traveller.

A common sight on the streets of Amsterdam are bakfiets, tricycles with wooden boxes that Dutch parents seem to have no qualms about using to transport their children. Young children

The contraptions embody two things to remember when doing business in the Netherlands: practicality and environmentalism.

Design is ruled by clean lines and functionality, and green companies such as electric delivery trucks are sprouting up across this land of windmills and tulips. An adventurous venture capital scene pushes forward the innovation.

The national funds for a carbon-free future ultimately stem, as in the UAE, from old-fashioned fossil fuels. The Netherlands is home to Rotterdam, Europe's biggest port and the world's third-busiest site for ship refuelling. The port has fostered ties with the Gulf region, from hosting a Kuwaiti refinery to investing in a joint venture to develop Oman's main port. It is soon to be home to one of the world's largest coal power plants that will capture some greenhouse gases before they can endanger the climate.

Whether you are venturing here to recruit a young eco-designer or to check on your crude oil shipments, you will have no trouble finding Frette-covered pillows and four-course meals.

In Amsterdam, the Canal House, which opened last month, is in the trendy neighbourhood of the Nine Streets. The modern hotel has been put together from three townhouses on the water and is owned by the same company that created Paris' L'Hotel, considered to be the first boutique establishment.

A short drive south is industrial Rotterdam and the quainter The Hague, home to the UN's International Criminal Court and government functionaries. Stay at Hotel Mosaic, a renovated building within walking distance from the royal palace and a €1.70 (Dh8.95) tram ride from the central train station.

If you can, steer clear of taxis, which charge €15, and use public transport. Even better, hire a bike, and if you are lucky enough to rent a bakfiets, stuff your suitcase next to the kid up front.