Chapter 1: Happiness and sustainability



Action plans for sustainability implies a balance between current development of society, economy and environment, and the chance to give the same opportunities to future generations. Moreover, these plans require a transition to less materialistic values and lifestyles in communities. Happiness is included as one of those values that can be beneficial for sustainability, and is related to life quality and the level of freedom in society. Consequently, happiness is positively correlated to good governance, local autonomy, strength of civil society, health, material comfort, social equality, access to knowledge, economic wealth, and the cultural environment (Zidanšek, 2007).  On the other hand, the characteristics of people’s surroundings influence their well-being and play an important role in determining what makes people happy (Brereton, Clinch, & Ferreira, 2008).

   One important factor contributing to individuals’ happiness are the activities or practices that they choose to do, as actions that require effort and hard work are more beneficial for long-term happiness than superficial changes in circumstances. The relation between happiness and sustainability is associated to this factor. Therefore, efforts in aligning basic requirements for sustainable development with human needs for happiness and life satisfaction could lead to the emergence of a global sustainable civilization  (Zidanšek, 2007).  At this point, the empowerment of individuals and organizations towards sustainability becomes truly relevant as it responds to the modification of their strategies and values, and to the improvement of their life quality standards. Furthermore, as sustainability and happiness work together in strengthening societies’ development, it is expected that happier citizens will be more willing to support and be involved in sustainability initiatives. Thus, the analysis of happiness and wellbeing in a community becomes a central topic to be discussed when talking about the materialization of a sustainable development vision in a territory.


Texel is an island located in the northwest of the Netherlands with a regular population of approximately 13,600 inhabitants. The main economic activities of the island are tourism, fishing and agriculture. Nature and landscape are varied, and part of the dunes area in the west was designated as a National Park. Even though Texel set the goal of becoming a sustainable island by 2020, there are a variety of interests and perspectives regarding how to achieve such sustainability among different actors, which represents the main challenge the island faces towards the achievement of its ambitious goal (Boissevain & Selwyn, 2004).


This report is focused on giving a wide perspective of the challenges related to happiness, health and well-being that Texel is currently facing in order to become a sustainable island. Therefore, an analysis of the current and desired future sub-system were presented and compared to increase the understanding of the mechanisms and trends that can be used to generate initiatives towards the desired sustainability transition. Moreover, the proposed initiatives were structured into an agenda towards a sustainable Texel in 2065. Finally, the outcomes of the subsystem were connected with the rest of the system to ensure consistency and synergy between proposed initiatives.



Challenges related to sustainable happiness

As a starting point of the analysis, the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system was divided into two main topics to define what it means for the Texel case: Life quality standards and Citizens’ empowerment towards sustainability. On one hand, life quality standards are related to the general well-being and living of the population; it includes factors such as good governance, health, ecological diversity, access to exercise and relaxation spaces, and access to healthy food. Therefore, this part of the system was related to the sustainability criteria to identify and measure the level of sustainability on Texelaars’ lifestyle, topic to be addressed at the end of this chapter. On the other hand, Citizens’ empowerment towards sustainability refers to the level of involvement and awareness of citizens with the sustainability goal, and the development of individual or collective initiatives to support the goal’s achievement. Moreover, there are some challenges related to the fact that Texelaars do not feel connected to (sustainability) ideas that come from the mainland, which needed to be addressed through the development of the proposals.


The island of Texel has land area of approximately 16 Ha, which is located in the Wadden area, northwest of the Netherlands. It consists of seven villages, which are Den Burg, De Cocksdorp, De Koog, De Waal, Oosterend, and Oudeschild. Den Burg as the main village has 7.000 inhabitants in current condition. Each village has its own character and mentality, although all the Texel people still have a homogenous local cultural identity (Boissevain and Selwyn, 2004).

   Tourism is the main source of income in Texel, where 75% of the people are relied on it. The second source of income on the island is agriculture, even though the number of farms have decreased by 48 from 1985 until 2000. Economic statistic of The Netherlands in 2010 shows that 3.300 people in Texel work on commercial services field, 1.500 people on non-commercial services field, 700 people on industry and construction field, and only 170 people on agriculture and fisheries (, 2014). Particular reasons for tourists to visit Texel are its forest, tranquility, beach, opportunity to enjoy nature by walking and cycling, fresh air, feeling of an island, feeling of freedom, and relaxation.


People in Texel can be considered to have a homogenous cultural identity, however every village has its own characteristic, for example: De Koog appeals to the tourist, De Hoorn has an agricultural community, and Oudeschild is a fishermen village. Some islanders support the tourism’s development in the island but some feel that their freedom is limited by the presence of the tourists. Moreover, the islanders have debated the amount of camping areas that intrude the farms, traffic jams, and crowding on the island. The intention of the tourists to transform the island into their places in order to feel familiar with the place is creating and undermining the living environment on the island at the same time. (Boissevain and Selwyn, 2004)

There are groups of local people in Texel trying to improve life quality in the island by push out campaigns or movements. Some of these groups are Ten for Texel and Texels Belang. From website of Texels Belong (2014), some issues concerned by local people were identified:

  • They need an independent municipality to perform their own affair.
  • They want to maintain the core value of Texel while improving tourist industry.
  • More social housing for young people is needed.
  • They want to preserve second education level in the island, include high school and secondary professional education.
  • Active sport area.
  • They need improvement in healthcare, and ambulance that remain stationed in the island.
  • They need to keep nursing facilities (Hollewal) and let the elders to spend their old age in Texel.
  • Shelter workshop “De Bolder” should remain on the island.
  • Fresh fish market is needed for fisherman to be able to distribute their product without middlemen


On the other hand, one could argue if the inhabitants of the island of Texel are actually Dutch. Texelaars (Texel's inhabitants) have a strong identity through which they differentiate themselves from the regular Dutch people living on the mainland. The islanders have their own dialect of the Dutch language and they have their own annual feast called Sunderklaas (it has nothing to do with Sinterklaas) on the 12th of December (Ronde, 2011). This strong identity creates a strong community of Texelaars, which is focused on its self-preservation in terms of culture and habits. Unfortunately, this leads to behaviours characterized by Texelaars not being quite open to outsiders and their ideas for change, especially when they come from the Dutch mainland.


Transitioning to a more sustainable Texel is a lengthy process. To ensure the success of this process, it is essential that the Texelaars do not only accept this transition, but that they also support it. This means that the inhabitants have to become an integral part of this sustainable transition and the eventual solution. Creating support and acceptance from the community is twofold. On one hand, it focuses on creating local enthusiasm and active support for this transition, and on the other hand, it is also about anticipating on resistance from the inhabitants or other stakeholders connected to this transition. Depending on the context of the project, resistance can lead to alterations to planning, implementation, execution or can even eventually lead to an unsuccessful transition. (Mourik, Feenstra & Raven, 2007)

   Resistance can originate from various different sources. Good or bad experiences with sustainable solutions and the general lack of interest for sustainability are amongst the many reasons why one would become reluctant to support or accept the transition. The impact that this transition might have on their daily life and surroundings eventually shapes their opinion on the transition. The challenge is to shape this impact, or these changes, in a way that they are appealing to the inhabitants of Texel.

   In order to for this sustainable transition to be a success, its result should become a part of the identity of the Texelaar. By empowering the Texelaars, the islanders themselves could contribute greatly to the sustainability of their island. Empowerment happens "when people, individually or collectively, conceive of, define and pursue better lives for themselves" (Oswald & Ruedin, 2012). This empowerment could be realised by a platform supporting local sustainability related projects that can be financially supported through projects and programmes rather than through direct budget support (Oswald & Ruedin, 2012).


The search for happiness, health and well-being can be considered a shared goal among actors in Texel. Initiatives in such field are relevant for the island’s sustainability goals as they can support the creation of a new identity for citizens based on new-shared values, norms and lifestyles towards becoming a sustainable community.  From this preliminary approach, the research was focused on giving response to the questions:

How to design a sustainable lifestyle for Texelaars that promotes happiness, health and well-being with behaviors not only appealing to the inhabitants of the island but also to its visitors?

How to measure the achievement of sustainable happiness on the island?

How to empower Texelaars to become the driving force of the sustainability transition on the island?



Health, Happiness and Well-being for Texel

The need for the transition towards a sustainable society is closely related to the concept of sustainable happiness, defined as the pursuit of happiness that does not exploit other people, the environment, or future generations. In terms of values, two definitions can be found: intrinsic goals, such as personal growth, self-acceptance, relationships, physical fitness, and community involvement; and extrinsic goals, such as financial success, social recognition, image and popularity. Generally speaking, intrinsic value orientation is associated with higher levels of subjective well-being, less materialistic or consume-oriented behavior, healthier habits, and more engagement with environmentally friendly behaviors than extrinsic value orientation  (O'Brien, 2008).

  To further reflection, O’Brien (2008) addressed some questions that are relevant in the context of Texel:  “Is it possible to assist individuals to make better choices about happiness, for themselves and all life on the planet?; Is it possible to create communities, towns, and cities that make people happier sustainably and thus contribute to public and environmental health and well-being?” (p. 291). From this point of view, the main challenge for the transition of Texel towards a sustainable society is related to the empowerment of Texelaars towards sustainability and the pursue of sustainable happiness. Consequently, the final goal of this sub-system is related to create an empowerment platform to promote intrinsic values among Texelaars that support and facilitate the transition (Figure 1).


Figure 1: Mechanism to achieve Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system's goal



Values related to sustainable happiness

In order to define the requirements to design such empowerment platform, firstly it was necessary to analyze the current state of the subsystem and the actors that are involved in making the transition society. For analysis purposes, current Texel’s society was divided into three main groups that have similar interests, willingness and attitude toward sustainability.  Additionally, tourists were treated as a group to be influenced by the initiatives and proposals of Texel’s attempted lifestyle. The aforementioned groups were chosen because of the different roles they can play in the present and in the future sub-system regarding sustainability, and the potential influence they can have on the values of the other groups.

  • Entrepreneurs: People starting new business and trying to diversify Texel’s economic development sources taking advantage of the island’s resources and capabilities. They are key actors in the transitions towards sustainability in the island as they are used to take risks.
  • Young people: Can be defined as the people aged from 10 -19, going to school and building their perception of life, behaviors, the future possibilities for Texel and its relation with sustainability.
  • Average inhabitants: Regular Texelaars that are active part of the island but have already defined their values, behaviors, perspectives of future possibilities for Texel and its relation with sustainability.


Secondly, it was necessary to define which values were related to the transition in the sub-system. The success of the future subsystem relies on the values of the people of Texel being sustainable ones. Therefore, the current values were analyzed to determine what needs to be done in order to bring about a change in these values. For the analysis, the values that affect life quality were divided into several categories:

  1. Family: To spend quality time with family
  2. Financial Resources: To secure the resources to support short-term and long-term financial goals.
  3. Friends: To build, strengthen and preserve personal friendships
  4. Health and fitness: To be healthy and physically fit
  5. Home and place: To make my home in a location and community that supports my desired lifestyle and personal values
  6. Leadership: To play an important role in the leadership of a group, a company, or an organization.
  7. Leisure Pursuits: To pursue hobbies, sports and interests outside of work and family.
  8. Personal Growth: To constantly learn new thing to expand horizons
  9. Public Service: To contribute to the community or society as a whole.
  10. Spirituality: To explore and develop the spiritual side of my life
  11. Work satisfaction: To do work that is enjoyable and stimulating.


Sustainability criteria

The growing interest on sustainability and sustainable development in the past decades has raised challenges regarding proper ways to assess its impacts. Assessment processes are important to ensure plans and project’s optimal contribution to sustainability goals. One of the main outcomes of such process is the need to define clear measurement points in order to ensure that efforts are going into the desired direction (Pope, Annandale, & Morrison-Saunders, 2004). For the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system, eleven criteria were selected to provide insights into goal’s achievement and are used as basis for the analysis.

  • Well-managed vegetation: Vegetation can be one essential element of vital neighborhoods spaces. By driving residents and visitors to shared green areas, trees and grass can foster stronger community ties (Sullivan, Kuo & DePooter, 2004). The proper maintenance of green areas and their adjustment to foster interaction is key to improve Texelaars’ happiness and life quality.
  • Halving exodus: According to the statistics by CBS, there is a trend towards emigration on Texel. Such trend is higher amongst young people, who leave the island to go to college or university, or simply to find other professional development opportunities. The future of the island depends on society to be able to offer young Texelaars opportunities to develop themselves and the economy of the island. Thus, declining exodus is key for achieving sustainability goals and ambitions.
  • Social strength: it refers to the “glue” that holds society together. It is reflected in the level of cohesion and integration in the community that make cooperation possible. Moreover, it includes notions of trust and shared understanding, solidarity, goals, behaviors, values or benefits (Woods & Giles-Corti, 2008).
  • Low carbon footprint housing: it is related to all emissions of greenhouse gases caused by both house building (production of materials used in construction) and the energy requirements of housing (energy use and maintenance). The key challenge is to reach high levels of energy-use efficiency (Barrett & Wietmann, 2007).
  • Lowering psychological health problems: Fatigue and stress are consequences of today’s work and life styles (Berto, Baroni, Zainaghi & Bettella, 2010). This leads to a decrease on mental health and processing capacity that have a negative impact on the perceptions of life satisfaction and happiness. Defining measures to lower the impact of such situations is a must for a sustainable and healthy society.
  • Maintaining air quality level: Air pollution can affect human health mainly by weakening the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, and the environment by damaging vegetation and negatively impacting plants’ growth (EPA, 2010).  Texel currently have a good air quality due to the amount of green areas, efforts have to be done to keep such state.
  • Locally produced products: Related with healthy food, increase the consumption of locally produced and organic agricultural products to reinforce the sense of belongingness of islander, and ensure the consumption of products that promote good health.
  • Increase sustainable exercise by 50%: Increase the number of inhabitants performing recommended exercise rate of at least thirty minutes of physical activity three times per week.
  • Decrease in electricity consumption by 50%: Increase energy awareness to reduce energy consumption. One of the mechanisms already installed is a system that measures and provide Texelaars with Feedback regarding their energy consumption in order to support the goal of becoming a self-sustainable community (Capgemini, 2013)
  • Decrease in fossil fuel consumption by 25%: The consequences of fossil fuel usage for energy generation and transport over the environment are widely known and discussed. They are the drivers towards the seeking for more sustainable solutions in the energy and transport sector. Decrease fossil fuel consumption is going to have a positive impact on keeping a good air quality on Texel.





Barrett, J., Wietmann, T. (2007). A comparative Carbon Footprint Analysis of On-Site construction and an Off-Site Manufactured House.Research Report 07-04. Stockholm Environmental Institute & SIA UK Research and consulting. United Kingdom. Available at:
Berto, R., M.R. Baroni, A. Zainaghi, and S. Bettella. 2010. An Exploratory Study of the Effect of High and Low Fascination Environments on Attentional Fatigue. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30, 4: 494-500.
Boissevain, J., & Selwyn, T. (2004). Contesting the Foreshore : Tourism, Society and Politics on the Coast. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Brereton, F., Clinch, J. P., & Ferreira, S. (2008). Happiness, geography and the environment. Ecological Economics, 65(2), 386-396. doi:
Capgemini (December 20, 2013). The island of Texel towards a sustainable energy future. Retrieved from:
Environmental Protection Agency (2010). Air Pollution. United States. Retrieved from:
Mourik, R. M., Feenstra, C. F. J., & Raven, R. P. J. M. (2007). Voorbeelden voor draagvlakbevordering bij duurzame energieprojecten op eilanden en in kleine gemeenschappen (pp. 50). Amsterdam: Energy research Center of the Netherlands.
O'Brien, C. (2008). Sustainable happiness: How happiness studies can contribute to a more sustainable future. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne, 49(4), 289.
Oswald, K., & Ruedin, L. (2012). Empowerment sustainability and phasing out support to empowerment processes (pp. 16): OECD.
Pope, J., Annandale, D., & Morrison-Saunders, A. (2004). Conceptualising sustainability assessment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 24(6), 595-616. doi:
Ronde, K. (2010). De Texelaar, de overkanter en het feest dat het verschil maakt  Retrieved on November 16, 2014, from
Sullivan,WC, FE Kuo, and S DePooter. 2004. The Fruit of Urban Nature: Vital Neighborhood Spaces. Environment and Behavior 36, 5:678-700.
Texels Belang (2014) Texel Importance: commitment and responsibility for our future. (n.d.). Retrieved on November 16, 2014, from:, (2014). Did you know this about Texel? - VVV Texel. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Nov. 2014].
Wood, L, and B Giles-Corti (2008). Is There a Place for Social Capital in the Psychology of Health and Place? Journal of Environmental Psychology 28, 2:154-163.
Zidanšek, A. (2007). Sustainable development and happiness in nations. Energy, 32(6), 891-897. doi:



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Chapter 2: Current State of the sub-system

Current subsystem map

What is the current socio-technical sub-system and its functions?

The socio-technical system is an extended version of Nelson and Winter’s (1982) technological regime, which referred to shared cognitive routines in an engineering community and explained patterned development along ‘technological trajectories’. Sociologists of technology eventually broadened this explanation, arguing that scientists, policy makers, users, and special-interest groups also contribute to patterning of technological development (e.g.Bijker 1995). It is therefore of great importance to not only explore technological possibilities or sociology related to sustainability, but to define the different relations between the two.


The current socio-technical system of Texel is already quite concerned with sustainability. On Texel, the negative effects related to tourism led to the first thoughts towards sustainability. In 1996, a working party (now known as foundation: Duurzaam Texel) was set up by the municipality with the goal to reduce the environmental impact of the large-scale tourism present on Texel.


In 2010, the European Union established goals related to sustainability. Where the EU have tasked their countries to, among others, acquire 20% of their energy from sustainable sources, the municipality of Texel have set the goal to be completely self-sufficient in sustainable energy and water facilities by 2020.



Prevailing technologies

As seen in the goal set by the municipality, Texel aims to become completely self sufficient in sustainable energy and water facilities. The focus of Texel, and therefore its prevailing technologies, are sustainable technologies related to generating their entire energy and water demand in a sustainable way. Energy-wise, this means that not only  technological systems such as solar panels and tidal energy are prevailing to ensure that the demand is met, but also technological systems related to reducing demand are prevailing on Texel.  The sustainability criteria of the current socio-technical system are the following:


Energy: Generating the demand of energy of Texel with sustainable technologies on the island itself.

The first step towards generating the demand of energy in a sustainable way is to examine the current demand of energy on the island. Energy losses can be severely reduced with both technological and sociological changes. After reducing the demand of energy, the focus can gradually shift towards the generation of sustainable energy. In the current system, the municipality of Texel has followed this approach by stimulating many initiatives related to energy-saving and by stimulating the generation of sustainable energy. The focus of their ambition is all energy related matters, which occur directly on Texel, and not the energy use in the production of materials shipped from elsewhere.

    Current projects mostly focus on energy saving within the current building stock. This is done by giving subsidies for energy saving solutions and by informing citizens about energy saving. The inhabitants of Texel are informed about possibilities and the benefits from which they could profit.Additionally, the municipality of Texel has made agreements on energy performance with housing corporation Woontij. Furthermore, the municipality is stimulating new technologies related to heating and insulation, whilst also selling plots on which only energy efficient building can be built. (Gemeente Texel, 2008)



Water: Generating the demand of (fresh) water of Texel with sustainable technologies on the island itself.

In the current system, the municipality of Texel is focussing on chains of wastewater and the water system of the island itself. Analyses of the water system aim to help achieving the goal set by the municipality. This takes place through different projects such as:

- Boer en water: In the project Boer en water (Farmer and water), farmers work in tandem with the board of surveyors of dikes and other water related issues (Waterschap) to improve the management of freshwater related to agriculture.

- Risk management of water nuisance per part of reclaimed land due to failure. 

- Optimization of the current wastewater systems

- Informing inhabitants and others who are connected to Texel's water systems.


It is hard to pin down key technologies used within these projects since most of the projects are still focussed on analysis rather than implementing a technology directly. These projects were set up to acquire more knowledge and to find possible sustainable solutions, which would then most likely be accompanied by key technologies that could be implemented in the sustainable development of Texel.

    In the case of wastewater, the results showed that Texel could improve their wastewater system by centralizing water treatment and purification and by stop using older treatment facilities in the villages of Oudeschild and 't Horntje. (Gebiedscommissie Texel, 2013)




Several actors were identified as influence for the current sub-system. This section will give a brief description of them:


Higher governmental bodies

The EU and the Dutch governmental bodies have set their goals related to sustainability in defined percentages of E.G. green energy. These governmental bodies have some influence over the most important actor related to the current subsystem.


Municipality of Texel:

The role of the municipality of Texel is crucial to the current sustainable development of Texel. The municipality stimulates other actors whilst also guiding all initiatives. The municipality is also tasked with guiding the entire sustainable development and the creating of widespread support of this development among politicians and the Texelaars. The municipality is responsible for the realisation of the energy vision that they have, and reports their progress to the municipal council.


Foundation Duurzaam Texel:

Foundation Duurzaam Texel is an extension of the municipality of Texel. The foundation was set up by the municipality with the goal to reduce the environmental impact of the large-scale tourism that is present on Texel in 1996. The foundation is tasked with communication towards different parties and inhabitants. They provide information in different forms and they have an office facilitating subsidy requests for sustainable technologies such as solar panels.


Housing Corporation Woontij:

Housing Corporation Woontij realizes energy saving and energy neutral buildings. Additionally, it actively tries to improve their current building stock with energy saving solutions. The corporation takes part in the national program "Meer met Minder" (More with Less), in which 30% of energy is saved in 2020 in comparison with 2010, but it even has a higher goal in mind. The housing corporation has made agreements on energy performance with the municipality and want an active role in the sustainable development of the building stock of Texel.


Texel Energy:

Texel Energy sells and invests in green energy such as electricity and heating in cooperation with the inhabitants of Texel. Since its foundation in 2007, Texel Energie started buying green energy and selling this to the inhabitants of Texel. Their goal is to eventually have all their projects responsible for the supply of green energy realised on Texel.


The inhabitants

In the current system, the sustainable development is a top-down one, starting at governmental bodies such as the Dutch government and the municipality of Texel. Nonetheless, the inhabitants have a say in the sustainable development through the municipality, but also because many of the inhabitants have firms that are connected or could still be connected to the sustainable development of Texel. Companies such as TESO (The ferry to and from Texel) and Texel Energie are companies founded by Texelaars in the recent past, and are still controlled by the Texelaars themselves. These Texelaars can be seen as the entrepreneurs of Texel.



Technologies embedded in cultural behavior

Among the previously named technologies, the technologies which are most embedded in cultural behaviors are the technologies that are well known to the average inhabitant and provide benefits for the environment as well as for themselves. Good examples are the solar panel or thermal insulation glass. These technologies are well known and very accessible to the general public. Also, these technologies are proven to work and can be financially profitable for their owners. Another similar example is insulation

     Other technologies embedded in cultural behavior is a fresh water irrigation system. Farmers on Texel, or any other island, have to deal with the fact that they are surrounded by salt water. Having a fresh water irrigation system then is crucial to this target group.



Interrelation of the elements

The current socio-technical subsystem is a top down system in which the sustainable development comes from governmental bodies such as the European Union, the Dutch government and the municipality of Texel. Due to this top down system, the values of the people that take part in this system are not directly responsible for the input, but only for the output of the system.

    In this map of the current socio-technical subsystem we can identify the links between financial resources - jobs - and tourism in general. Jobs are often linked to leisure activities (often focused on tourists) and the hotel and catering industry (Café's and restaurants).

   The interrelation between the values, needs and facilities when we look at Energy goals is the following. Energy is currently mostly connected to the inhabitants through their housing (value: shelter), since this is the need through which they have the most direct relation with energy facilities.

   When looking at water, we can see that especially people working in the agricultural sector have a very strong connection to technologies related to water management. Furthermore, we can see how the values of each individual group correspond with the appropriate needs and facilities according to these values.

   Important to note is the emigration of inhabitants of Texel. This exodus is especially happening to inhabitants of Texel within the age groups of 20-40 years. From 1998-2008, 33% of the inhabitants between 20-30 years left the island. This rather large number can be attributed to a number of things:

- Possibilities for Entertainment

- Possibilities for Education

- Job Possibilities.




The need for entertainment is large in a small isolated community such as Texel. If there were not any possibilities for entertainment, the population of Texel could drop significantly, and people would search for entertainment elsewhere. Since possibilities on an isolated island with a small population are a bit limited (except for outdoor activities involving nature), they make up for it with many different events such as:

 - Texel air show

- Music festivals such as Sommeltjespop, SunBeats and Texel Blues (for tourists)

- Different runs such as: The Half Marathon of Texel, "Lammetjeswandeltocht" and the "Zestig van Texel"

- Culinary events such as Texel Culinair and Texel's own Fishing Festival

- Outdoor activities such as Mountainbiking, Hiking, Horse-riding, Skydiving, Kiting, Golf and Fishing.

- Guided tours of the nature on Texel and Mudflat hiking.

- Museums such as:  Museum of Cultural History, Museum of Aviation and War, Juttersmuseum and Wadden and North-Sea Center: Ecomare


In comparison to their population, there is a large variety of things to do on Texel. Undoubtedly, this has to do with the large amount of tourists visiting Texel (especially in the summer). They are mostly focussed on tourists though.



Due to the relative small number of inhabitants in similar communities, schools are small and often don't offer the same variety as they do on the mainland. On Texel one can find primary schools in almost all the small villages. Only inhabitants of De Waal, Den Hoorn, Eierland, Oost and 't Horntje have to go to a primary school in one of the slightly larger villages. 

    Contrary to other Dutch Wadden Sea Islands, Texel's youngsters do not have to leave the island to have access to high school education. Den Burg, Texel's largest village, houses the island's only high school. The school offers all regular levels of Dutch education: VMBO, MAVO, HAVO and VWO.

    Unfortunately, there is no university or higher education which the inhabitants can follow after finishing high school.


Elementary (Primary) schools:

Oosterend           -           De Vliekotter

De Cocksdorp      -           O.B.S. Durperhonk

De Koog             -           De Lubertischool

Den Burg            -           O.B.S. Jac. P. Thijsseschool

                        -           P.C.B 'De Fontein'

                        -           Vrije School Texel

                        -           S.B.O. 'De Kompas'

                        -           Katholieke basisschool 'De Jozefschool'

Oudeschild          -           O.B.S. De Bruinvis


High (Secondary) School(s):

Den Burg           -           O.S.G. De Hogeberg


After this high school, there is a significant number of students who want to continue their studies at universities on the mainland. ("Homepage OSG De Hogeberg,")  These students leave Texel to study in a Dutch city and do not always return to the island to share the knowledge acquired on the mainland.Also, we can identify an annual decrease of the numbers of students enrolled to high school of Texel. Whereas the number of students in 2013 was 954, the predicted amount of  students in 2020 is somewhere between 650-700 students (Schoolleiding OSG De Hogeberg, 2013).


Rules and regulations:

The rules and regulations most applicable to the sustainable transition of Texel are the regulations passed down from the European Union to the Dutch government. In 2010, the European Union established goals related to sustainability. Where the EU have tasked their countries to, among others, acquire 20% of their energy from sustainable sources, the municipality of Texel have set the goal to be completely self-sufficient in sustainable energy and water facilities by 2020. The goal set by Texel is however more a guideline and a goal to strive for, than an actual target. This has to do with the limited feasibility of this goal.

   Except for this target, there are not a lot of rules which are directly related to the health and happiness and with the current sustainable development of Texel. There are rules for conservation of the island, such as rules and regulations for the use of nature-reserves and beaches.

   Furthermore, there are regulations which are valid not only on Texel, but also on the mainland. An example is the regulations around education. All elementary schools have compulsory classes on creative subjects such as art and music and mandatory courses such as physical education and classes on geography and history. Especially courses such as physical education and creative classes such as music class contribute greatly health and happiness. 



Major Unsustainability Mechanisms

When we look at unsustainability mechanisms, we can define two of them related to our subsystem of Health, Happiness and Well Being:


Unwillingness of inhabitants to change

The first unsustainability mechanism is the one related to unwillingness of inhabitants to change. This has to with the conservative nature of the identity of the Texelaar. Technological changes are easy to implement but will not suffice in making, in this case, Texel, a sustainable island. This means that the inhabitants of Texel, and people in general, will have to make changes to their lifestyle and their identity to accomplish making Texel a sustainable island.


Why are they here?

The identity of the Texelaar was formed over many decades, ever since the island became inhabited. During this time, the Texelaars a different culture and identity compared to the regular Dutch people. This small community of approximately  14.000 people focus on self-preservation of the community of Texel and their culture and habits.

    The need for preservation of this identity is not uncommon in small communities. In the case of Texel, this is amplified by the large amounts of tourists compared to inhabitants and the amount of people leaving the island for reasons such as better education or better job prospects. Due to this need to preserve their identity, the community of Texel is relatively closed towards outsiders and their ideas, thus creating a certain unwillingness to change.


How do they work?

In the case of the community of Texel, this unsustainability is kept in place because the Texelaars want to maintain their cultural identity.  As said, the need for preservation amplified by the amount of Texelaars leaving the island for reasons such as educational reasons or better job prospects on the Dutch mainland.

    When we look at education, we see that there are several small primary schools throughout the different villages on Texel. After primary school, students will usually attend the only high school on Texel; De Hogeberg, located in Den Burg. The school has all levels (VMBO, MAVO, HAVO & VWO) of Dutch high-school education and therefore it is the only Dutch island where youngsters do not have to leave the island to enjoy a certain high-school education. (Schoolleiding OSG De Hogeberg, 2014) After this high school there is a significant number of students who want to continue their studies at Universities on the mainland. These students leave Texel to study in a Dutch city and do not always return to the island to share the knowledge acquired on the mainland.("Homepage OSG De Hogeberg,")

   Also, we can identify an annual decrease of the numbers of students enrolled to high school of Texel. Whereas the number of students in 2013 was 954, the predicted amount of  students in 2020 is somewhere between 650-700 students. (Schoolleiding OSG De Hogeberg, 2013)


The fact that the community is growing smaller each year, and that there is a large decrease of inhabitants of ages between 20-40 is one of the reasons that there is this need for self-preservation of the Texel community. As we can see in the graph below, there is a large decrease of people in this age-category (a whopping 33% decrease in the amount of inhabitants in the age group 20-30 over 10 years), whilst there is also a large increase of inhabitants in the age group of 60-70. (Gemeente Texel, 2007)

(Gemeente Texel, 2007)


When looking at sustainable development, this means that the Texelaars cannot be dependant of knowledge from Texel themselves but that they are partly dependant on knowledge from the Dutch mainland.


What is/keeping this in place?

There are multiple things keeping this mechanism in place. The fact that the community is growing smaller each year, and that there is a large decrease of inhabitants of ages between 20-40 is one of the reasons that there is this need for self-preservation of the Texel community. This can be partly attributed to the lack of higher education (universities) and the lack of jobs for these graduated students. This keeps them from returning to Texel after enjoying a higher education on the mainland. On the other hand, Texel proves to be attractive especially to people in the age groups of 50-70, not always being former Texelaars.



Tourism vs Life Quality & Sustainability

The second unsustainability is the fact that the Texelaars rely on tourism for a large part of their income. Tourism is the main source of income in Texel since 75% of the inhabitants rely on it to make a living. The second source of income on the island is agriculture, even though the number of farms have decreased by 48 from 1985 until 2000. (, 2014)

    The number of overnight stay tourist have increase tremendously by nearly 50% in five years time with the average length of stay is 6 to 7 nights. It was recorded that in 2009, 3.886.350 tourist stayed overnight in Texel. Furthermore, TESO service and municipality of Texel mentioned that total tourist expenses for overnight and day, reached  € 256.236.850. (, 2014)


Why is this here?

Tourists visit Texel for numerous different reasons. Particular reasons why the tourist visit Texel are because of its forest, tranquility, beach, opportunity to enjoy nature by walking and cycling. The other reasons are because of the fresh air, feeling of an island, feeling of freedom, and relaxation.


How does it work?

Since tourism is the main source of income in Texel, It leads to different way of living there and brings impacts in terms of liveability. Although it has been a discussion that the impact of tourism is not the only factor that affects the liveability in Texel, but also by the context of politics, policies, and planning.

   Recent surveys from Lengkeek and Van der Velden in 2000 summarized several issues that were distinguished. First of all tourism leads to two distinctive aspects which on one hand brings more traffic, turmoil on the island, and several other drawbacks and on the other hand brings more income, jobs and quality of services. (Boissevain and Selwyn, 2004)

   Secondly, tourism has threatened the continuity of agriculture as a result of conversion of agricultural land into extension land for tourism businesses. Furthermore it brings affects to the local identity, culture, and architecture. There is also trust issue about the role and the ability of the local government address the external influences.

   Generally speaking, people from Texel have high sense of belonging of their island. Local party and local action group preserve and strengthen their local identity by representing the interest of the agriculture sector and liveability issue.

   People in Texel can be considered to have a homogenous cultural identity, however every village has its own characteristic, for example De Koog appeals to the tourist, De Hoorn has an agricultural community, and Oudeschild is a fishermen village. Some islanders support the tourism development in the island but some feel that their freedom is limited by the presence of the tourist. The amount of camping areas that intrude the farms, traffic jams, and crowding on the island are several reasons that have been debated by the islanders. The intention of the tourists to transform the island into their places in order to feel familiar with the place is creating and undermining the construction of place at the same time. (Boissevain and Selwyn, 2004)


What is/keeping this in place?

Dependences on the tourism in terms of local economy is the main social issue in the island. Tourism development has been judged as a dominant yet vulnerable basis for the island’s economy. It can be said that the general income in the island is rather low and depends on the peak holiday season which leads to a fact that most of the islanders have more than three different jobs in order to compensate their income in the low season. By being so dependent on the income from the peak season of tourism, this unsustainability is kept in place.



Trends and Technology

The entrepreneurs are the main group trying to make moves towards improving the levels of health, happiness and well-being in Texel. In terms of what is happening already, even if not entirely successful yet in terms of scope, it can be seen that Texel society has started to move towards more intrinsic values and it is trying to overcome current practices or behaviors challenging their vision of a sustainable society. Some initiatives can be found as a first attempt to make the needed changes in the Texel society, they may need more coordination between all groups and common agreements on what is needed initially to empower people towards the sustainable happiness. However, this initiatives are valuable learning experiences to base the draft of the proposals for the transition of the sub-system.


Current initiatives related to health, happiness and well-being can be divided in the following categories:

  • Community education: Texels Ondernemers Platform is concerned about guarantying education to children from 6 to 18 years on the island in order to become more raise highly qualified personnel with bounding with the island, and to open educational opportunities to retain them. Furthermore, they consider vital to sustain the educational infrastructure and are willing to support initiatives targeting such goal. Moreover, in the summer of 2013 they launched Operatie Onderwijs Texel, opening opportunities for all to teach on Texel. Finally, they have had meetings with students to share with them information about jobs available in Texel and the development required to access to them.
  • Healthy food: Texel is full of farmers with sustainable processes for production, however not always their products are labelled as sustainable or their organic properties are promoted. Understanding local production gives the feeling of social activity participation to children, which can result in closer relationships between family members and with the island and the environment.  With initiatives such as De zelfpluktuin, a free entry garden where groups of family tourist can enjoy and let their children picking up chemical-free fruit, vegetable and flower from the garden, this trend can become a touristic attraction for Texel and can be capitalized to promote healthy habits among inhabitants.
  • Nature capitalization: There are several projects that has been executed or are under execution to promote tourism and recreation taking advantage of the natural resources of the island, such like Planet Texel, DNA-kustplaatsen and Mooi Texel. Texel is looking at tourism beyond the needs of increasing capacity and it recognizes the need to safeguard the core values for the future. Thus, the preservation of natural reservations is a priority that have mobilize entrepreneurs to even execute auctions to collect the funds needed to make it happen. The value of nature goes beyond tourism to the life quality of inhabitants and how these spaces can be capitalized to promote sustainability in the island, this fact open questions regarding measures that should be taken into consideration when designing the proposals.
  • Entrepreneur’s empowerment: There are two main entrepreneurs’ networks at Texel: TOP (Texels Ondernemers Platform) and JONT (Jonge Ondernemers Netwerk Texel). Both make use of web platforms to connect its members and share relevant information about projects, news, knowledge and experiences. Moreover, they have some meetings over the year in physical spaces in Texel to strengthen networking and experiences’ sharing. While JONT is more focus on giving support to Texel’s young entrepreneurs, TOP does not have age limit and focuses on the interests of all businesses in Texel and connect individual activities to increase impact and collective benefits. These initiatives are actively giving support to the first movers on making things happen and make use of technology to create networks, these skills can be further develop to promote the sustainable transition.


The current trends and technology are a good basement for the initiatives that are being designed for the system. As the current sub-system already is targeting towards a sustainable transition the question now is strongly focus on the how. How to succeed in promoting sustainable values? We thing that the best way is to make them experience, from the initial or seed proposals, what is meant by sustainable happiness.  Furthermore, it is necessary to establish a sustainability promoter mechanism that can receive and promote the execution of further initiatives to be proposed by islanders.


Finally, when analyzing the interactions of the three selected sub-groups, it was remarked the need to seed in the young generations sustainable behaviors for them to further promote the switch towards more sustainable values in the long term. Consequently, the seed proposals are focused on promoting, especially among young Texelaars, sustainable happiness through connecting them with entrepreneurs that can empower them toward implementing new initiatives, and providing them with spaces to experience sustainable happiness in a fun way related to their interests. Once the young Texelaars start engaging in the transition, it is expected that they can start influencing the average inhabitants’ behaviors.




Schoolleiding OSG De Hogeberg. (2014). Homepage OSG De Hogeberg  Retrieved 27-11, 2014, from
Schoolleiding OSG De Hogeberg. (2013). Begroting 2014 OSG De Hogeberg.
Gemeente Texel. (2007). Demografische Ontwikkeling van Texel: Gemeente Texel. 
Baarse, G. and Rijsberman, F. (1986). Ecology and tourism: protecting the coast of the Dutch island of Texel. Project Appraisal, 1(2), pp.75-87
Boissevain, J. and Selwyn, T. (2004). Contesting the foreshore. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press., (2014). Did you know this about Texel? - VVV Texel. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Nov. 2014]
Gemeente Texel (2008). Energievisie Texel.
Gebiedscommissie Texel (2013). Masterplan Water voor Texel.
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Chapter 3: Future vision of the sub-system


What is the future sociotechnical sub-system and its functions?

The advantage of looking at socio-technical systems is that the co-evolution of technology and society, of form and function becomes the focus of attention. Dynamics in socio-technical systems involve a dynamic process of mutual adaptation and feedbacks between technology and user environment.(Geels 2004) Rapid population growth reflects the worldwide spread and success of modernization and industrialization. This has led to an unprecedented improvement in the material conditions of life of hundreds of millions of people, with great increases in income, life expectancy, health, education and wellbeing (Goklany, 2007).

The current sub system is already concerned with the future in a sustainable way. The municipality of Texel recognizes that global civilization is currently unsustainable. This is why it has the ambition to be 100% self sufficient by 2020. With this Texel exceeds the energy and climate goals of the Dutch government and the EU: Texel has chosen to play a leading role in technological and sustainable development. As Texel is an island, it is possible to clearly define this ambition. The island can exemplify a nation in miniature. Moreover, in order to meet the requirements of the set ambition, the municipality proposes a coherent energy program, with focus and policy aimed at achieving volume.(Leguijt, Benner et al. 2008)

“I am convinced it is possible. Without doubt, it is technically possible. A lot is dependent on the support of the population. If there is a will, there is a way” – Mw. Mr. C.J. Geldorp-Pantekoek, Mayor of Texel.

The mayor of Texel righteously points out the importance of the cooperation from the population of Texel. At this point, it is important to not to forget the visitors, as they cover almost half of the population during the year. In the Energy vision Texel and execution plan,CE Delft already proposes changes that need to be made in strategy and policy. The future subsystem will build on the set ambitions and aims to contribute to changing cultural values to sustainable ones. As sustainability depends on green, eco-efficient technology and a significant shift in cultural values, the two cannot be seen as separate entities.


Prevailing technologies

The technologies that are prevailing within the sociotechnical sub-system of health and happiness apply to the technological innovations regarding sustainability. Health and happiness has to do with certain values of a society and to what extent those values are met. These can be values regarding sustainability, amount of green, reputation, wealth, living space, income etc. Technologies related to these values are green energy, (sustainable) construction and modeling future cases. In the next chapter these values are described in more detail.

In order to make Texel to become a healthy and happy society, it is needed for the Texelaars to be aware of the technologies that are prevailing in reaching this goal. When the Texelaar knows how they can bring about this change towards health and happiness by using available technologies in an adequate way, the Texelaar will feel more involved in the process; this will empower them to contribute.


For the sustainability criteria aimed at reducing ecological footprint of Texel green technology is needed because conventional growth is leading to accelerating resource consumption, ecological damage and pollution:

Raw materials
The present industrial economy extracts raw materials from nature and turns them into products with ending economic value. Later the entire material chain is dumped back into the natural environment as waste and pollution. Therefor the system will focus on locally produced product with high levels of recycling of materials in closed loops (see Material and Waste subsystem).

Air quality
Pollution and persistent pollution of soil and atmosphere could be mitigated by designing technology that eliminates emissions and waste or at least reduces them to a minimal level and toxic pollution can be reduced be adjusted behavior avoiding the use of polluting fuels.

Healthy Food
Developing a regenerative approach to agriculture that recycles nutrients and avoids runoff minimizes the use of water, builds soil quality and uses natural methods to manage pests. The later ensure a sustainable supply of nutritious, uncontaminated and locally produced food.

Our ecosystem presents to us available air, water and a stable climate. By developing infrastructure that has minimal impact on the biosphere and stimulate the use of bikes, the ecosystem can be preserved.


The knowledge and technology to achieve such goal is already exists and there is a political will from the municipality of Texel, what is still missing is a change in social priorities and values as enablers of the change.



The actors that need to be empowered are the young people, the average Texelaar, the entrepreneur and the visitor. This empowerment will be supported by actions of the government, institutions and companies offering the technologies needed.

The government wants the people to be healthy and happy because, for example, they want to win elections (at certain moments) and they want to keep the people satisfied to keep the system running and prevent protests. For the same reasons, they want the people to live a healthy and long life. Institutions govern the behavior of individuals within a community. That is why it is needed to be able to monitor behaviors and actions of the people in order to take actions in extreme circumstances.

Companies’ main goal is, generally, to have a high turnover. Therefore, the companies, which offer the services and technologies that prevail in this subsystem, benefit from changing values towards a more sustainable and green environment in order to have a healthy and happy life. Whilst other companies will either prevent this change or disempower the people in order to keep their business running or to avoid investments in R&D to keep up with changing values.


The later analysis indicates that the actors and the technologies are interrelated in order to the system to work properly. Furthermore, to work towards the sustainability goals of Texel while considering the health and happiness sustainability criteria, the current sub system needs to change. Green and eco-efficient technology and a significant change in cultural values is needed (Tibbs 2011). Therefore, a new socio technical sub-system was designed focused on the values of the actors who take part in the system to change towards common goals aiming towards sustainability. The value assessment in chapter 4 shows us which values of life satisfaction should change.


Technologies embedded in cultural behavior

The future socio-technical subsystem is designed as a platform, which functions as an institution monitor and showcases sustainable technological development and climate changes. The platform sets an example and directs, empowers, supports or coaches the actors to adjust their values. The action depends on the commitment and competence of the actor to engage in sustainable development (Motive 2014). The values represent the standards, which are given to the existence/quality of facilities that are needed. The next layer shows the facilities that are needed for the actors to lead a healthy and happy life according to their values such as schools, healthcare, sustainable housing, parks, ecological supermarkets, and social meeting places.

In this way the center, the monitoring/showcasing platform has a ‘Doppler’ effect on the values of the actors in order to empower the people to participate in sustainable development towards the set criteria to become a sustainable healthy and happy island, which can be self-sufficient by 2020:


  • Well managed vegetation
  • Halving exodus
  • Social strength
  • Low carbon footprint housing
  • Lowering psychological health problems
  • Increase local economy
  • Maintaining air quality level
  • Locally produced products
  • Increase sustainable exercise by 50%
  • Decrease in electricity consumption by 50%
  • Decrease in fuel consumption by 25%


As is going to be described in chapter 4, the Happy Planet Index (created by Nic Marks) can be used to measure the success of the health and happiness subsystem. The sustainability criteria contribute to life expectancy, life satisfaction and decrease of the ecological footprint, which are the factors used to measure the Happy Planet Index = Life Satisfaction x Life Expectancy / Ecological Footprint. Adaptations to the measures were done to create the Happy Texel Index.

Figure 1. Overview of future sub-system


Interrelation of the elements


Long term vision of value change towards sustainability for better life quality.

Modernity has been a good progress for the society of Texel. People seem to want to expand modernity as far as possible. Technology and science have already experience rapid evolution, which have had good and bad impacts on the environment. Improvements in material conditions of life, with increasing wealth, life expectancy, health, education and wellbeing, haven taken place due to these developments. This results in values of life quality that are deeply rooted in the culture of the people.

To change such values will take a long time and need to be addressed at the root because people think much more psychologically about themselves and their lives. However, even though the people of Texel already give more value to sustainable development, it is still not enough to bring about the needed change (self-sufficiency by 2020) by maintaining their current state of health and happiness.

Currently, there is a shift towards post-materialism; this means people value their right to individual voice and influence, both politically and within organizations, emphasizing self-actualization and life quality (Tibbs 2011). The platform therefore, stands at the basis of these changing values, guiding them to reach the next step for valuing sustainable development. The platform influences the actors to value the sustainability criteria, because they know it will make them and future generations more healthy and happy.


Halving the exodus by creating job opportunities, providing better education and a strong community

At this moment, 3% of young people leave the island of Texel per year to seek a more thrilling life, better job opportunities and/or education (see chapter 2). When this problem will be addressed on a community level, by making the young people feel more involved in their community, the young people will feel more connected to their island.

Meeting places with exciting activities, where the young people are challenged and can engage in activities with the potential to contribute to their personal growth, are needed in the future sub-system. The quality of meeting places and public spaces have a strong influence on the attachment people will have on the place. The attachment and meaning of a green place can encourage individuals to actively protect and engage in pro-environmental behavior (Vaske and Korbin 2001). Well-managed vegetation creates a hospitable environment for people to gain attachment to places. (Carr, Francis et al. 1993)


Use of eco-efficient technologies for housing/hotels and green energy production.

While transformations in technologies are taking place making almost anything possible, society refuses to change, clinging to traditional ideas. Especially the construction industry has been lagging behind in technological development: 30% of the world’s carbon emissions come from the building industry. This is caused by inefficient building methods, use of material and low thermal capacity of post-war construction. Eco-efficient technological development can improve construction efficiency, materials insulating capacity resulting in energy savings.

Moreover, green energy production is strongly supported by the municipality for becoming self-sufficient in energy. The platform supports this by showcasing possibilities of engaging in green energy projects, giving a financial contribution, or applying the technologies in peoples homes. The design of the new subsystem is the basis for an encouraging scenario of a new culture, aiming at an economy based on clean green technology. It is a positive view on the future, which will undoubtedly encounter obstacles along the way but it provides a positive prospect for the future.


Job opportunities generated by increasing focus on technological development in the energy sector

The energy use in Texel amounts to around 1,5 PJ per year. The municipality of Texel predicts an increase of 50% of electricity consumption and 25% of fuel consumption, only the use of natural gas will decrease by 5%. Thus, the design of the future sub-system will primarily focus on providing technological innovation to produce the needed electricity and fuel.

Solar, wind and water energy can already be an answer to the electricity demand. TexelEnergie can expand, so more local energy can be produced at home and by start-up companies set up by entrepreneurs, generating more job opportunities and saving on energy costs on the long term for the people of Texel. Nevertheless, more innovation is still needed in a substitute for fuel. Technological development in biomass fuel is experiencing a kick-start but still has many obstacles to overcome. The platform aims to make everyone, but primarily young people and entrepreneurs, more aware of the consequences of using fossil fuels, encouraging them to find alternative technologies of fuel generation and transportation technologies to decrease the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Although Texel has a relatively good air quality compared to the rest of the Netherlands, Texel wants to be an example for the EU by becoming a sustainable island. Texel also experiences benefits when the EU (and the rest of the world) accelerates their measures against climate change, because the increase in concentration of carbon dioxide will have detrimental effects on the island of Texel. These effects, such as rising temperature, rising sea levels and increasing humidity, can have large effects on the biosphere of Texel, resulting in a decrease in visitors coming to Texel for holidays or leisure. (Conrady and Bakan 2008)



Green areas effects on body health/psychological health

Texel has 80% of green areas, which is relatively high compared to other areas of the Netherlands. However, what is more important to know is whether these green areas are accessible, visible and well-managed, as nobody will experience any benefits from a natural park that is in decline. Seeing green areas can increase the ability to concentrate and can improve work performances and decrease stress levels and illness. Green spaces encourage people to engage in outdoor exercise and social outdoor activities.

Having quality landscaping and well-managed vegetation has good effects on health and happiness and is, therefore, a good investment strategy for the municipality (Wolf and Flora 2010). Possible projects, which can be encouraged and supported by the platform, can be: creating inspiring natural environments in office and school buildings, develop green areas around cycling and walking pathways. In this way, the future sub-system encourages the municipality to improve public spaces to become more green and well-managed.


The platform will present the results of the activities, projects and behavioral changes regarding sustainable development in a yearly event. This event is an Energy Marathon, the participants of the Energy Marathon will produce energy while running on an energy generative platform made by entrepreneurs and young people of Texel. A scoreboard will show scores of the life satisfaction and life expectancy of the people opposed to the ecological footprint resulting in the Happy Texel Index. Every year, participating people will become more aware of their influence on the environment and the influence of this on their own health and happiness.

Rules and regulations influence on cultural values

The future sub-system is a strategy to maintain support mechanisms towards behavior that encourages innovation and open communication. Values that play a role in creativity and sustainable innovation can either inhibit or encourage it, depending on how these values influence individual and community behavior (Martins and Terblanche 2003). As mentioned earlier, cultures represent countries’ deeply rooted values. Culture reflects the moral and ethical beliefs and standards that determine how people should behave and interact with each other. Cultural norms and values are shared systems of beliefs and practices that are passed down through generations and characterize a cultural group.


Figure 2. Interrelation of values and laws

Norms cultivate reliable guidelines for daily living and contribute to the health and well-being of a culture. They act as prescriptions for correct and moral behavior, lend meaning and coherence to life, and provide a means of achieving a sense of integrity, safety, and belonging. These normative beliefs, together with related cultural values and rituals, impose a sense of order and control on aspects of life that might otherwise appear chaotic or unpredictable. (Boundless 2014) The future sub-system addresses these norms and values in a way that it is coherence with current cultural values regarding climate change. The system will support, encourage and influence their values towards becoming more sustainable on the way to health and happiness. These values have influence on laws, but laws in turn have the power to change culture (Harwick 2014). When a government sets up laws that neglect the values of a culture this can lead to a negative public opinion and legal issues. Therefore, in the future sub-system, it is of utmost importance that the municipality of Texel is capable of monitoring the changing values of the people of Texel in order to maintain their authority and ethical success. (Chmielewski 2004)



 Figure 3. The design of the future sub-system





Boundless (2014, 18 november 2014). "Culture and Ethics." Boundless Management. Retrieved 24 december 2014, from https://
Carr, S., et al. (1993). Public Space. Cambridge, Cambridge Universtiy Press.
Chmielewski, C. (2004). "The Importance of Values and Culture in Ethical Decision Making." Retrieved 24 december 2014, from
Conrady, R. and S. Bakan (2008). Climate Change and Its Impact on the Tourism Industry, Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Geels, F. W. (2004). From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems. Elsevier. Eindhoven.
Harwick, C. (2014). "Culture and Laws." Retrieved 24 december 2014, 2014, from
Leguijt, C., et al. (2008). "Energievisie Texel en uitvoeringsplan 2008-2011."
Martins, E. C. and F. Terblanche (2003). "Building organisational culture that stimulates creativity and innovation." European Journal of Innovation Management 6(1): 64-74.
Motive (2014). Leadership styles in daily life. Delft, Motive.
Tibbs, H. (2011). "Changing Cultural Values and the Transistion to Sustainability." Journal of Future Studies 15(3): 13-32.
Vaske, J. J. and K. C. Korbin (2001). "Place Attachment and Environmentally Responsible Behavior." The Journal of Environmental Education 32(4): 16-21.
Wolf, K. L. and K. Flora (2010). "Mental Health and Function - A Literature Review. In: Green Cities: Good Health." Retrieved 24 december 2014, 2014, from


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Chapter 4: Future and present state comparison


In order to design a proper sustainable transition, it is necessary to gather information regarding the main differences between the current state of the sub-system and the sustainable vision set for the future. It was stated that, due to Texel’s vision of becoming self-sustainable by 2020, sustainability is a trend topic in Texel’s society and cooperation from the community is needed in order to reach island’s goal. However, it is still needed to identify the key points that need to be worked on for the transition to be successful and truly sustainable.

        The first clear differentiation between the subsystems is the way different elements are connected. In the current situation sustainability initiatives come from the top: local authorities, whilst in the future situation it is expected that, by a joint work of the different groups of Texelaars (young people, entrepreneurs and average inhabitants), (1) the sub-system increases the connections between different elements and (2) the majority of sustainability initiatives come from the population, so the system prioritize ideas from the bottom.

        Once this major differences have been remarked, it is necessary to take a closer look to the main changes in the different elements of the system.


Prevailing technologies

Currently, technologies on the island are not entirely focused towards becoming more sustainable. There are unsustainabilities regarding means of transportation, housing, electricity generation, water management, farming techniques, touristic facilities, among others. Due to the pressure generated by the 2020 vision, the main developments have been focused on sustainable energy and sustainable water management (fresh and waste water).  Such technologies are not just focus on decreasing the ecological footprint in the energy generation or water treatment, but also in reducing consume rates through behavioural changes.  Moreover, most technologies are still under the research stage, so the impact on Texelaars’ lifestyles is still minimum.

      On the other hand, in the future sub-system, the range of focus of technological developments is broadened. Sustainability transitions are now focus on developing technology to reduce the ecological footprint trough improving the management of raw materials and waste, decreasing emissions to improve air quality, developing a regenerative approach to agriculture and decreasing the impact of technology on the surrounding ecosystems.

     Overall, it can be noticed that the technological development evolves with the needs and growth of society and prioritize its focus in order to solve the major needs the community is facing according to the island’s expected state in time. Technologies already exist and can be adapted to the island, or can be develop by islanders to match their particular needs. Finally, it is clear that there is a need to keep a focus on technological innovation in the island in order to identify key unsustainabilities to be managed and prioritize, and generate proposals to solve them before an escalation of their negative impacts occurs.



In the current sub-system, the following actors were identified as having the more influence on the system: higher governmental bodies, the municipality of Texel, the Foundation Duurzaam Texel, the Woontij Housing Corporation, Texel Energy and the inhabitants. On the other hand, the future sub-system focuses on empowering young people, the average Texelaar, the entrepreneurs and the visitors with the support of government, institutions and companies.

       It is clear that the future sub-system promotes sustainability transition from the bottom while the present pushes it from the top. Additionally, the future sub-system clear states a direction for the interconnection between actors and technologies in such way that technology can be provided to inhabitants to implement sustainable initiatives or technology can be developed by inhabitants to solve an identified unsustainability. Moreover, in the present sub-system, the priority is given to the institutions with the interest, money and power to start the transitions, and the only groups of inhabitants capable of contributing are the entrepreneurs.



Culture and behavior


Figure 1. Value comparison using the YUTPA Analysis


The values of the Texelaar are crucial to the success or failure of sustainable development on Texel. After a few weeks of research, a general idea of the values of the Texelaar were formed. These values were mapped in a YUTPA analysis. YUTPA (acronym for being with You in unity of Time, Place and Action) allows the analysis of four dimensions of significance that refers to presence configurations for making choices and trade-offs for the performance of presence (Nevejan & Brazier, 2014). Moreover, these values were compared with the values proposed for the Texelaar to have in the future to ensure a successful sustainable development. The transition between these values is crucial for the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system.


Current values

By looking at the YUTPA analysis of current values, it can be seen that the inhabitants of Texel’s values are quite well distributed among especially three of the four themes. Time is the only theme which is significantly lower than Action, Relation and Place. Some of the higher values that can be found in this analysis of the current system are Emotional Space, Communion, Reputation and Reciprocity. The high values for Communion and Reputation can be traced back to the strong community feeling that Texelaars have, whilst Emotional space has to do with the sense of being on an island. Reciprocity is one that is related to the fact that people, in general, are more inclined to do something if they get something in return that benefits them in the short run.


Future values

By looking at the proposed future values, it can be noticed that a large shift in values for the Texelaar is needed. The values for the themes Relation and Place have been improved slightly, but the major differences can be found within the themes Action and Time

Within the theme of Action, values for Negotiation, Reciprocity and Tuning have dropped significantly, whilst the value for Quality of deeds has increased to a maximum. In the future sub-system, the Texelaar is not always busy on thinking about short-term benefits, but more about long-term benefits for themselves and their island. This means that values for Negotiation and Reciprocity decrease since people do not necessarily need something in return for the actions they perform. The theme of Relation has an overall improvement, but it is very important to note the decreased value for the Texelaar to have a specific Role. In the future subsystem, everybody can have ideas benefitting sustainability.

The theme of Time is where our largest changes can be found. Sub-system aims to make sustainability a part of the Texelaars daily routine. Therefore, values such as Duration of engagement, Integrating rhythm and Synchronizing performance need to increase. Making moments to signify also increases, so that the Texelaars can commit to certain milestones related to sustainability, and celebrate when they are reached. All values in the theme of Place increase slightly. Since Texel should become self-sustaining, the feeling of being on an island will increase.



Values towards the sustainable transition

In Chapter 1, values were defined to be related to the sustainable transition, they were divided in several categories: family, financial resources, friends, health and fitness, home and place, leadership, leisure pursuits, personal growth, public service, spirituality, and work satisfaction.Each category represents different values. As values may differ between people according to their interests, the analysis of values was done for each of the groups already defined: young people, entrepreneurs and average inhabitants.

For the assessment of the current and future values of the people of Texel, firstly an assumption were made, based on research. Once at Texel, the list of values will be presented to some Texelaars in order to determine whether the assumptions were correct and proper adjustments are going to be made. The results of such assessment can be consulted on the respective links.


Values assessment for the young people of Texel

Values assessment for the entrepreneurs of Texel

Values assessment for the average inhabitant of Texel


From this analysis, it can be concluded that entrepreneurs are the citizens of Texel with the more values related to sustainability. It would be necessary to analyze the influence they have on the other groups in order to facilitate the diffusion of the values in the island. Moreover, it is necessary to open more spaces for them to spread the values related to entrepreneurship and the enjoyment of doing something is positively affecting the quality of your life as an initial step for the transition.

 In addition, young people was identified as the group with the highest potential to make the transition happen as their values can be shaped as they are not totally defined yet. The main challenge is to make them relate their professional and personal development with island’s development in order to overcome the desire to go away without coming back and to promote on them the capacities to shape the island they want.

Finally, average inhabitants can be the group more resistant to the transition as their lifestyles are settled. It would be necessary to find proper ways for entrepreneurs and young people to influence their behaviors for them to start making the transition towards sustainability.  Consequently, it is expected that, over time, materialistic values such as financial resources will become less important, whilst the overall feeling of this strong community is amplified.  


Technologies embedded in cultural behavior

In the current sub-system, the technologies that are most embedded in cultural behaviors are the ones that provides inhabitants benefits for both themselves and the environment such as solar panels, fresh water irrigation system and thermal insulation glass, characterized to be accessible and financially profitable.

                On the other hand, the future sub-system is design as a platform that promotes, monitor and highlights technological development in order to integrate it to Texel’s lifestyle. It creates a connection between actors, technologies and values in order to ensure the fulfillment of the sustainable vision through the identification of needs, improvement of required facilities and measurement of success using pre-defined criteria.

Moreover, the success of the technology implementation is highly related to the perception of benefits from its use in the current sub-system. In contrast, the future subsystem creates and takes advantage of the interconnections among elements to maintain an innovative environment towards the resolution of identified unsustainabilities in the areas. Additionally, it is self-driven even though a strong initial push would be needed to gain inertia.



Rules and regulations

Currently, the municipality of Texel has gone beyond the established regulations when established. Apart from this one and regulations regarding education and conservation of the island, there are no further legal framework relevant for the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system.  On the other hand, the future sub-system needs a strategy to maintain support mechanisms towards behavior that encourages innovation and open communication, in addition to coordination between the different set of sustainability proposals coming from the different sub-systems. As norms cultivate reliable guidelines for daily living, it is expected that in the future sub-system some regulations have to be created to maintain order and give room for opportunities generation and innovation’s implementation. Consequently, the lack of framework present in the current sub-system needs to be filled with norms and regulations capable to give some order to interactions among the elements of the sub-system.



Developments towards the desired direction

Due to the unsustainability mechanisms identified in the current sub-system (chapter 2), interaction mechanisms were redesign in the future sub-system (chapter 3) to support the transition towards a more sustainable island in terms of the sustainability criteria. Moreover, such mechanisms were reflected in the long-term impact proposals to be presented in chapter 5. Furthermore, the trends identified in the current sub-system were used as a basement to define short-term impact proposals to promote an initial experience of sustainable happiness in the island.

                After the analysis was completed, it was evident that the sub-system still missed a clear measure of success in order to realize if the results of the initiatives’ implementation were leading the system towards the desired direction. At that point, the Happy Planet Index (HPI) was referenced as the leading measure for sustainable well-being, and it was evaluated as an appropriate tool to measure the success of the implementation of sustainable happiness in Texel. Generally, the HPI is used for countries; however, it would be ideal for the platform’s proper management to adapt the measure to the island scope in order to ensure a proven good measurement tool and enough data to compare Texel’s development with global standards in terms of sustainability.


The Happy Texel Index (HPI, 2015)

The HPI measures “the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them”. It is an efficiency measure on how many long and happy lives countries are capable to produce per unit of environmental input. It has a scale from 0 to 100 with a proposed target value for nations of 89, and it recommends to use complementary measures in order to not to lose focus on other relevant objectives related with well-being and sustainability. In the case of Texel, this measurement will be complemented with the data from the other proposed sustainability criteria.


Figure 2. HPI Formula


Firstly, life satisfaction is assessed with “The ladder of life” question from Gallup World Poll, the respondents are asked to located themselves in a scale that goes from zero (worst possible life) to 10 (best possible life). Secondly, life expectancy is a globally used measure of health. Finally, the ecological footprint of resources consumption promoted by WWF is used, and it is a measure of the amount of land, per capita, required to sustain a country’s consumption patterns.

The HPI is going to be adapted to Texel by defining the scope of the ecological footprint calculations and starting specific measures on life expectancy and experienced well-being. It is important for the index to be implemented prior to the starting point for the implementation of the proposals (2020) in order to have a baseline scenario to compare future developments.  




Nevejan, C., Brazier, F. (2014). Design for the value of Presence. Participatory Systems Initiative. Delft University of Technology. The Netherlands: Delft.
HPI (2015). About the Happy Planet Index. Retrieved on January 8, 2015, from:
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Chapter 5: Building sustainable happiness in Texel


Proposal for a pathway to realize the sub-system in 2065, and an action agenda for 2020 to initiate transition towards a sustainable sub-system.


In this chapter, the actions that are needed to reach the set goals for the future sub-system are set up into a timeframe of specific actions. Firstly, a short analysis will be presented regarding the key conclusions from the previous analysis that leaded the platform to the proposed set of initiatives. The overall goal of the pathway is to empower Texelaars to grow the number of proposals in order to ensure their sustainable happiness.


  • Technologies: The technologies needed for the sub-system to work primary focus on the energy generative technologies such as solar panels and wind mills. Other technologies address efficiency of housing design and construction, such as the development of new materials and production methods.
  • Actors: The young people, entrepreneurs, visitors and “normal” people of Texel are the main actors of the sub-system. A primary focus on changing values of the young people is valued for a desired long-term effect. The entrepreneurs set an example to the young people towards sustainable lifestyles. The entrepreneur facilitates the visitor by providing services and developing technologies.
  • Culture and behavior: As norms and values of the people of Texel are deeply rooted in their culture, it is hard to change them. The design of the future sub-system, the platform, aims to address this difficulty by making a strongly interrelated system in which values need to be changed in order to reach set goals of the municipality of Texel.
  • Relations between different elements: Currently, there is a shift towards post-materialism; this means people value their right to individual voice and influence, both politically and within organizations, emphasizing self-actualization and life quality (Tibbs 2011). The platform, therefore, stands at the basis of these changing values, guiding them to reach the next step for valuing sustainable development. The platform influences the actors to value the sustainability criteria, because they know it will make them and future generations more healthy and happy.
  • Rules and regulations: Norms cultivate reliable guidelines for daily living and contribute to the health and well-being of a culture. The future sub-system addresses these norms and values in a way that it is coherent with current cultural values regarding climate change, which will change over time. These values have influence on laws, but laws in turn have the power to change culture. When a government sets up laws that neglect the values of a culture this can lead to a negative public opinion and legal issues. Therefore, in the future sub-system, it is of utmost importance that the municipality of Texel is capable of monitoring the changing values of the people of Texel in order to maintain their authority and ethical success.


Preparation for the transition

Before starting the actions to reach the set long-term objectives, the Happy Texel Index will be implemented. In this way, the happiness level of the inhabitants of Texel and its visitors is measured before starting with the actions. To know what needs to be done, to raise the Happy Texel Index to the desired rate of 89, the monitoring platform will refer to the future subsystem. Here the linkages show what source and actors need to be addressed.


Action agenda

Several actions need to be undertaken to have short- and long-term effects on the health and happiness of the people of Texel. The actions are subdivided into the health and happiness categories for a clear overview. However, both are so interrelated that they cannot be seen as separate entities. The actions have the long-term goal of changing cultural values towards more sustainable values. The short-term effects are aimed at creating more sustainable awareness to set a base for the platform.

One essential factor in the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system is the integration of the fun factor into the proposals, if people can experience and enjoy sustainable related activities; they are going to be more willing to incorporate new behaviors into their daily life. The focus is to coordinate short-term proposals for people to experiment with the implementation and incorporation of sustainable ideas into their daily life, and long-term programs that thrive the switch toward a more sustainable and happy society capable to generate their own proposals and technologies to achieve and maintain Texel’s sustainability goals.



Energy Marathon
As described in chapter 3, the platform will organize an annual Energy Marathon. The platform will present the results of the activities, projects and behavioral changes regarding sustainable development in a yearly event. The participants of the Energy Marathon will produce energy while running on an energy generative platform made by entrepreneurs and young people of Texel. A scoreboard will show scores of the life satisfaction and life expectancy of the people opposed to the ecological footprint resulting in the Happy Texel Index. Every year, participating people will become more aware of their influence on the environment and the influence of this on their own health and happiness. In order to realize this event, technological development needs to be made to make these energy-generating platforms.
Start up period: 5 years
Start: 2020
Effect: Short term


Energy Bikes
At the camping sites on Texel there is a limitation for electricity access. To combine this need for energy with the stimulation of exercise, the installation of spinning bikes next to the camping sites is recommended, an additional sustainable characteristic of such park is the bike’s capability of generating energy through their usage. In this way, inhabitants and tourists will share the sustainable environment that is created with an additional focus on increasing the enjoyment and awareness of the advantages of being sustainable.

Start up period: 1 year
Start: 2020
Effect: Short term


Restaurants with locally produced food
The system will focus on locally produced products with high levels of recycling of materials in closed loops. For this we will refer to the sub-systems “Material and Waste” and “Food & More”, as these sub-systems already set up a plan to set op restaurants with locally produced foods.
Start up period: 10 years
Start: 2020
Effect: Short term



Happy Texel Index
As mentioned before, the start for the future sub-system is marked by the first measurement of the HTI. During the development of the sub-system, new measurements will be made annually. The platform will monitor the data and will make it accessible to the actors. The results and progress will be shown during the Energy Marathon.

Start up period: 2 years
Start: 2015
Effect: Long term



Experience Sustainable Texel Program
The most important action to make sure the future sub-system will have a long term effect has to do with changing long term vision of the young people by changing their values. Educational projects will be set up by the platform. These projects will have a focus on nature and the importance of human co-existence with nature. The young people will also be educated about the long term vision of Sustainable Texel to be self-sufficient with their own technologies. An effect of these actions can be seen in about 20 years.

                  This proposal is based on taking advantages of the connections between the different groups of inhabitants: young people, average Texelaars and entrepreneurs, in order to create empowerment towards sustainability and create an entrepreneurship environment in the island that inspires the development of the technologies needed for the island to achieve its sustainability goals. The mechanism of the proposal is to create a parallel education system for young people in Texel where they can explore the relationship between sustainability, entrepreneurship and Texel’s development. The contribution of entrepreneurs is to open spaces for young people to experience sustainability in real life situations and sharing their learnt lessons to create a new generation of Texelaars empowered towards sustainability and entrepreneurship.

The main differential factor of the program would be the inclusion of the fun factor, the enjoyment of learning and generating networking to support island’s development. It would be a program run on weekends (even once a month) were young people can connect with the sustainability agenda of the island in order to learn how to identify challenges to the goals and starts making proposals for changing the situation. The graduation project would be a project reflecting their own desired contribution for the island development.

In the long term, the idea is that young Texelaars, when leaving the island to go to college or university, can have ideas to work their research projects on the topics worked during their Experience Sustainable Texel Program and it inspires them to go back to the island. Moreover, it would be good to connect the program with the Texel foundation in order for the latter to create and sustain a fund to support entrepreneurial projects of young people when coming back to the island.

On the other hand, the idea of focusing on young Texelaars is to shape their values in a crucial age such that they can become a new generation with new mindsets and behaviors towards sustainability and the island, and that they can inspire average Texelaars into joining the sustainability movement. Finally, the value switch would be leaded by entrepreneurs to inspire young people, which have the power to influence their families and friends. In such a way, it is expected that in the long term the island would host a more sustainable society that inspires visitors towards joining sustainable lifestyles.

Start up period: 2 years
Start: 2020
Effect: Long term


Work opportunity in sustainable projects
The platform is organized in a way that it directs young people to engage in sustainable projects and it empowers entrepreneurs to start up their own company. The platform offers a place to do research on sustainable technologies and showcase ideas or prototypes. Young people and entrepreneurs are already engaged during the development of the platform, through educational projects in which entrepreneurs set an example to the young people. The platform empowers the entrepreneurs by offering insights in the current HTI and what sustainable projects are needed to reach a higher level of HTI.

Start up period: 5 years
Start: 2020
Effect: Long term



Management of green areas
The island of Texel is largely covered by green areas. To improve social strength of the people of Texel it is of importance to maintain the green areas that already exist on the island. By adding running/walking tracks, benches and sporting fields these green areas can be turned into social spaces. The main idea is to connect these spaces with the idea of sustainability and social cohesion. By keeping them in a good shape; they will attract and allow the interaction of visitors and inhabitants.

Start up period: 5 years
Start: 2015
Effect: Long term




Tibbs, H. (2011). "Changing Cultural Values and the Transistion to Sustainability." Journal of Future Studies 15(3): 13-32.





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Chapter 6: Connection with other sub-systems

Expectations and Tensions.png

The overall outcome of the Health, Happiness and Well-being subsystem is to ensure an improvement of the life quality of Texelaars and visitors reflected in more happy and healthy lifestyles among inhabitants and the share of such habits by visitors. In order to achieve this goal, the need to joint efforts with the other sub-systems in the Texel system was recognized to ensure all initiatives’ alignment towards a positive influence in the living of Texelaars. Furthermore, it was necessary to define what the required contribution of this subsystem would be in order to achieve the overarching goal. As this specific sub-system is the only one directly addressing people, their lifestyle and their perception of life, it was concluded that its main contribution has to be related to the society transition towards more sustainable values.

      This sub-system requires a lot of synergy with the others as several aspects regarding the definition of life quality, such as healthy food, green spaces, good education, access to clean water, increase of wealth, low pollution, access to exercise and leisure, etc., depend on other sub-systems to be addressed and reinforced. Moreover, for the development of social strength it is necessary to have a joint vision on how the different initiatives are going to promote cohesion not only among inhabitants but also to include visitors, as they have a high impact on the island’s development and are critical to the success of Texel’s sustainability goals.  

     In order to ensure such synergy, support from governmental bodies, norms, and regulations are needed to ensure proper development and timing of the different initiatives to increase their impact on Texelaars’ living. Moreover, initiatives must be prioritized or even merged in order to attend the major unsustainabilities first, so transition will be facilitated as people will start experiencing the more expected benefits sooner and will be more willing to join the movement. Finally, as initiatives and proposals are mostly connected to people, it is critical to assess the impacts of the execution of initiatives together and not separately, in order to have a clear picture of the real influence of the system and do not generate undesirable side effects. 


Figure 1. Relations with sub-systems and the Texel system


Figure 1 presents the connection of the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system with the other sub-systems and the Texel System. As the connection with the overall system was stated previously, the following analysis will be focused on the expectations and possible points of tension with the other sub-systems in order to achieve the desired transition:


  • Food and more: The major expectations are related to the production of healthy (organic) food, and the promotion among Texelaars of local products’ consumption as this will reinforce the sense of belongingness in the island and will support the adoption of healthier habits. Priority was not given to the products that come from outside the island, so this is a point that gives room to improvement of current proposals and may create some tensions. On the other hand, land pollution due to the possible use of pesticides may endanger population’s health and represent a concern for the platform. Finally, as green areas are a priority for social strength, assessing the possible impact of agriculture on landscape and the management of green spaces is a priority.


  • Leisure and knowledge: There is a strong connection with this sub-system and its initiatives, as it influences three key concepts: fun factor, innovation and education.  The expectations are centered in how to integrate the concept behind the empowerment platform, the innovation center and sustainable schools. Moreover, the potential to link green areas managements and the proposed route gives room for the strengthening of social capital in the island and the integration of inhabitants with visitors and of both with sustainability concepts. The only possible source of tension would be the balance between the events and life quality in order to avoid negative effects that could decrease levels of happiness and satisfaction with the desired rhythm of life.


  • Materials and waste: The main expectations regarding this sub-system is the improvement on life quality due to a sustainable and efficient management of waste to decrease Texelaars ecological footprint. Moreover, it gives room for innovations that can be generated in the platform. On the other hand, there are concerns regarding air and soil pollution that might cause some tensions.


  • Public space: This subsystem is quite relevant on maintaining high levels of happiness among Texelaars as there is a huge influence of the surroundings in the possibility to strength social cohesion  and promote healthy habits like exercise. A plan towards a proper management of green areas to encourage social interactions is expected, and the lack of it on the proposals could generate tensions regarding the synergy between sub-systems.


  • Sustainable mobility: The main expectation about this sub-system was the generation of proposals towards increasing healthy means for mobility among inhabitants and visitors. Transportations is seen as a valuable opportunity to promote exercise and healthy habits among the population. Possible tensions are related to concerns regarding the maintenance of air quality standards and having clear proposals to avoid possible negative effects on mental health of insufficient measures to control traffic on the island due to tourism.


  • Texel as host: There are possibilities of synergy in the developments of facilities for eco-tourism as it can have a positive impact in the transition towards healthier and more sustainable lifestyles among inhabitants, and can be used to promote such values among visitors. Furthermore, proposals are expected to be directed towards the increase of social cohesion between inhabitants and visitors, so the latters can be engaged to the sustainability initiatives of the island. The main source of tension come from the way touristic seasons affects the stability of people’s life in terms of job security and wealth. Moreover, the balance between the amount of visitors and keeping a quiet and enjoyable environment in the island has to be analyzed.


  • Water cycle: The main expectation for this subsystem is regarding to keeping public health by ensuring proper water access for the population. Moreover, clarity on the desired behaviors of people towards water management is needed in order to ensure proper synergy among sub-systems and to define needed changes in people’s lifestyle to ensure the reduction on water use in the island.


Finally, once the commonalities and possible points of conflict were identified, it is necessary to find concerted solutions among sub-systems to connect the system and ensure the transition towards the desired state. It is expected that, once in Texel, this part of the research can be completed.

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Chapter 7: Final design


The research methodology used to generate the ideas and insights presented in the previous chapters was based on literature review, news and interviews with experts related to sustainability transitions and initiatives. The final stage of the process included on-site research: experiencing and having contact with Texel and its people. For the sub-system of Health, Happiness and Well-being, it represented an opportunity to test assumptions, to improve the concept for the proposal and to look for possible facilitators for the sub-system’s proper functioning.


The on-site research aimed at exploring the current environment and possibilities for implementing the proposal and at providing an initial and raw measurement of the current state of the sub-system. Moreover, it was divided into two main parts:

  • Interviewing Texelaars regarding our proposal and their vision of the sub-system
  • Performing a value survey focused on measuring life satisfaction, satisfaction with sustainable behaviors and importance given to sustainability values.


The Texelaars interviewed included entrepreneurs (Peter Koorn and Michel Gregoire), social innovators (Peter Kieft and Luciette van Hezik), and a representative of the local municipality related to sustainability (Pieter de Vries). The survey was performed at the city center of Den Burg using a quota sample of 30 inhabitants (15 man and 15 woman of different age groups) in order to ensure some representativeness to the exploratory work. The results presented in this chapter are indications of the current state and not an exact measurement, a properly structured research needs to be executed in order to test the statistical significance of the relations and results presented. For more information regarding the survey content, the reader is referred to the Appendix 1.


The main results of the interviewing process were related to the discovery of new challenges regarding the proposal’s implementation and usefulness for the island, this topic will be discussed further in the next section. Regarding the survey, it was found that life satisfaction is quite high among inhabitants with a value of eight based on a scale of one (worst possible life) to ten (best possible life).

      However, this satisfaction does not seem to be related to their satisfaction with sustainable behaviors. According to the criteria proposed for the sub-system, it was asked to respondents to grade the level of satisfaction they feel with behaviors related to each criterion. The indicators with higher level of satisfaction were the amount of nature, the current state of the nature and the amount of tourists visiting the island; and the ones with lower level were exodus of young people, availability of facilities to apply or buy green energy and education opportunities for young people. Finally, the respondents graded the level of importance given to sustainability values, for Texelaars the most important ones are air quality and maintenance of nature.


General results confirm the assumptions made before regarding the value Texelaars give to the green environment of the island, and the relevance that tourism have for the islanders’ life quality. Furthermore, the life satisfaction level is a clear indicator of the overall social cohesion, Texelaars pride to be islanders and the good conditions provided by the island to make a living. However, such high level has the potential to become a bottleneck when proposing a transition towards sustainable behaviors because people already feel happy and satisfied with their current lifestyle and a strong incentive will be required to change the current inertia. On the other hand, it was confirmed the importance that young people’s future has for the islanders, and their concern for the opportunities available for young people to develop personal and professional skills for the benefit of the island. Finally, there are still challenges related to the transition to green energy and the satisfaction of Texelaars with their access to such service.


Furthermore, in order to complete the current state analysis of the Happy Texel Index, a raw calculation was made based on available information. The happy Planet Index is based on three criteria: life expectancy, life satisfaction and ecological footprint. As there is no data for Texel individually, the life expectancy of the Netherlands (80,7 years) was taken as a basis. In addition, calculations for the ecological footprint of Texel’s population would require a considerable high amount of data regarding the consumption patterns of inhabitants and the production cycle of the goods and services provided in the island. Consequently, an estimation was made for the ecological footprint of Texel taking as reference the value for the Netherlands and the differences in land use and population of the island compared with national levels.


Table 1 shows the result of the HPI calculations for Texel and the HPI reported results for the Netherlands (HPI, 2015). It can be seen that Texel has a higher result than the national average; however, it is still far from the goal of 89 proposed by the creators of the HPI based on reasonable levels for the criteria used for the calculations. In order for Texel to achieve such goal, it must focus on creating the necessary well-being to increase life expectancy and life satisfaction, and taking measures to decrease its ecological footprint by at least 60%.


Table 1. HPI calculations: comparison between Texel and the Netherlands


In addition, the analysis of the values related to sustainability was done comparing age groups: young (-30 years old), middle aged and elderly (60+ years old). Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 show the results of the value assessment for each group age, each figure represent a measurement related to sustainability and the values reflect the importance each group gives to the specific value. The color scale goes from dark green (high) to red (low). The criteria are presented in the next order: life satisfaction, transition to sustainable/renewable energy, reduction of CO2 emissions, maintenance of nature, air quality, saving food product, saving energy, saving water, availability of local products, taking actions to be sustainable and HTI score.


Figure 1. Value assessment for young people 

Figure 2. Value assessment for middle-aged people

Figure 3. Value assessment for elderly people


Even though the overall life satisfaction is high, there are differences among groups. The group with highest life satisfaction is the middle-aged and the least satisfied are the elderly, results reflected in the same order by the HTI. On the other hand, there is a lack of importance given to the value of taking action to be sustainable, with the middle-age people having the highest interest. This situation, added to the current high life satisfaction level, increase the challenge of starting a movement towards becoming a more sustainable society. Finally, the age group giving more importance to sustainable values are the elderly and the ones giving the less importance are the young people. This fact increases the complexity of young people circumstances in the island and the importance of focusing on shaping the values of this generation towards more sustainable ones in order to achieve and sustain Texel’s sustainability goals.


In conclusion, the previous analysis confirmed and confronted the assumptions used for the previous design and provided new insights on challenges to face during the transition. Consequently, this chapter is going to be focused on improving the concept of the subsystem’s proposal taking into consideration the information gathered, the main focus will be the how to make the transition happen in order for the proposal to be useful for the Texelaars.



As mentioned in the previous paragraphs the current Happy Texel Index appears to be surprisingly low, while the people of Texel are very satisfied with the way they live. This poses the question: How can we increase the Happy Texel Index while maintaining the current life satisfaction?

    According to the HTI equation, The Happy Texel Index is related to life expectancy and ecological footprint. The current life expectancy on Texel is quite high (see Appendix 1) so the factor that needs to be lowered is the Ecological Footprint.



What lies at the basis of the challenge to decrease the ecological footprint, is the values the people of Texel give to sustainability. As mentioned in Chapter 4, values people have towards sustainability are strongly related to their knowledge on how their behavior influences their surrounding environment, for example, on how saving energy will decrease their carbon footprint. This means the key to make the transition to become a self-sufficient island is to educate people about the consequences of their actions, fact that is reflected in The Happy Texel Index. 


The next step is how to implement the Happy Texel Index so it will be visible to the public. According to Pieter de Vries , a Policyworker on the department of Sustainable Development at the Municipality of Texel, the HTI could be a vital part of the 2020 goals. The municipality, however, appeared to be reluctant to facilitate the measuring and the guarding of the HTI because of the high life satisfaction which is already there.

 “Why should we push our inhabitants to live differently if they are already happy?”

This confirmed the idea, that the municipality of Texel would not be the driver of the HTI. The municipality will support but not facilitate.


Because HTI monitors the effects of the other sub-systems, it is needed that the HTI will be measured and guarded by one organization. An organization, to which the people of Texel can come for consults on how to run or start their sustainable business. Initially a HTI advisor will be appointed to accurately measure the current index. Afterwards, the index and its influencing factors will be made visible on the website of this organization. As a first insight the website could be a good start for this.


In the future system the Happy Texel Index will have a monitoring role over the other sub-system. It will assess the behavior of the people of Texel but it will also be able to foresee unsustainability mechanism. In this way, sustainable entrepreneurs who want to start a business will know what kind of market value their business will have and how much it will contribute to the sustainable goals of Texel for 2020. Part of the design is to host the HTI consultation in an Innovation Centre, which incorporates an incubator and a science lab. This Innovation Centre is the connection of the Knowledge Route, the Waste and Water cycles. It is the place where all the sustainability mechanisms come together. A place where people work together to make profit by being innovative to create more jobs for young people. Located in the harbor, it will be the jewel of the Island. Visible from “the other side”, it will function as a showcase of the technological and social development Texel is undergoing. Revealing to the world how Texel is leading in sustainability.





Possible implementation

To implement the Happy Texel Index the sub-system needs an initiative which can use the HTI to benefit their goals. After having talked to several people, the EcoHof Texel, appeared to be an initiative that has the same view on sustainability alonside well-being of the people. This is their story.

“Our main goal is to be an example for sustainable lifestyle. We do not only want to create only ecological houses but also want to stimulate social interaction. For example when you are in a big school you don’t know each other. But by scaling down, we can create freedom in connection.

In an interaction, energy is exchanged, when I give my high energy to people with low energy it will influence their immune system. When somebody is out of the circle, he will become ill. It is both a spiritual and a physical approach.

Texel is an island, and on an island there is always more interaction. However, what happens on Texel is a more superficial interaction. People talk about each other without having a profound interest in one another.

Getting started

Everyone will have their own house, and there will be a shared space where people come together. The composition of the houses will be circular, where the center is the communal area. But not only the houses, but also the material we use will benefit well-being of the inhabitants, this means we want to focus on bio materials such as straw and wood. We expect that after the realization of the project, it will start growing very fast, because people appreciate living in a more social and natural environment.

Social strength

The essence of such a community is to provide the opportunity for people to speak their heart. When a person is bothered with something he can step up and talk to people about his problem. It is called a ‘forum’, in a group this person will say everything that he is feeling. The others don’t say or ask anything, so this person can say anything he wants. Afterwards the others in the community tell him what they heard and what they have seen they to give a reflection. After that they will know what needs to be changed. At this moment when people share their issues with others, they are being told to act in a certain way, they will be comforted to make the issue feel less bad or people start talking about their own experiences regarding this situation. By changing the way we interact, people feel heard and people feel understood. People feel safe to share their irritation, so people will talk with each other. And it will prevent people from talking behind each others backs.

Well-being and sustainability

We want to focus on the education on a sustainable lifestyle. The young can inspire the elderly and the elderly can in turn inspire the young people. Eventually the sustainable lifestyle will become a habit. People need to change, and we want to be an example for them to make the transition happen. On Texel there are already so much initiatives, take Lets Texel for instance, it is a Local Economic Transition System. When I buy something I don’t need anymore I can give it to someone else and pay in money or in “Boetjes” which is equal to a euro. In this way, it becomes a trading system of a product. Although this is digital, it shows that the people on Texel already are thinking in the right way.

Our idea is to build a test environment where people could rent a house for a month or a week at the EcoHof, here they can experience for themselves what it will be like to live a more sustainable lifestyle. At this location, the HTI could be applied so people can see how their actions have an influence on the index. Because the people on Texel are willing to change but the transition towards taking action remains a difficult one. This test environment will make this transition a lot easier, because people will experience what a nice environment they can live in and can decide for themselves that they want this as well. Luckily, the people of Texel already value living in and with nature, because that is mostly the reason people come to Texel. In the end, the goal is to provide the area with its own energy and water supply.

Essentially, what we can do is, offer an example for a change in a sustainable lifestyle, living environment and expenditure. In that way, we see that the Happy Texel Index can grow from 50 to 70. So the Happy Texel Index can really contribute to revealing the importance of our design to the public. We really like how the different generations are addressed and how the index shows what core sustainability values need to be addressed.

The proposed Innovation Centre also really appeals to us because it is needed to catch peoples attention right away, when entering the island. This place could really be a starting point for us to set up workshop for young and old and to get started with the HTI.” – Luciette van Hezik and Peter Kieft (



Subsystem connections within the proposals of the future subsystems.

As our specific sub-system of Health and Happiness is the only one directly addressing people, their lifestyle and their perception of life, it was concluded that its main contribution has to be related to the society transition towards more sustainable values. These values are related to facilities, which are in turn related to the other subsystems. Our connections to these subsystems are therefore important to examine.


  • Food and more: The connection to this subsystem is related to the production of healthy (organic) food, and the promotion among Texelaars of local products’ consumption. Healthy foods contribute to a person's health, whilst the consumption of local products could become more of an experience resulting in added value for food consumption for Texelaars (due to pride) and tourists (due to trying local products). This subsystem could therefore influence ones happiness and one's health by promoting a healthy lifestyle.
  • Leisure and knowledge: The leisure and knowledge subsystem is very much related to the combination of the two themes; leisure and knowledge. By means of a TexelLab, the idea is to expose creative ideas related to sustainability. Since this could also be seen as a leisure will result in a leisure activity accompanied with more jobs. The second idea is to decrease the ecological footprint of tourism by providing this knowledge to the tourists. This is also related to the TexelLab, which in our proposal, is also an empowerment platform. For our subsystem, this means that this subsystem will be connected to the empowerment platform as well as the Happy Texel Index. The system is focused on
  • Materials and waste: The subsystem of materials and waste is especially connected to our subsystem through the ecological footprint, and therefore also the Happy Texel Index. The proposal of a sustainable and efficient waste management system does not only contribute to reducing the ecological footprint, but also be a catalyst for new innovations related to waste. These would then be able to enjoy help from the empowerment platform.
  • Public space: The public space future subsystem focuses on supporting of all the other subsystems. The strategy is to integrate the subsystems, support them, connect them and promote them. Thus, promoting the identity of Texel and further increasing the strong identity of the Texelaars. This could have a significant impact towards life satisfaction for the Texelaars, thus having a positive effect on the Happy Texel Index.
  • Sustainable mobility: The subsystem of sustainable mobility is related to the way that the inhabitants and visitors of Texel are transported around the island. Electric cars influence the ecological footprint and are mostly focused on the tourists during peak holiday weeks. Within these peak weeks, the amount of fossil fuels used in transport will then be reduced. Happiness and life expectancy will most likely not be affected by the change in transport. These forms of sustainable mobility can however have an impact on the ecological footprint.
  • Texel as host: This subsystem is all about creating awareness under the tourists. The aim of the system is to have its effect on the ecological footprint of tourists visiting Texel. The developments in this subsystem can have a positive impact in the transition towards healthier and more sustainable lifestyles among inhabitants, and can be used to promote such values among visitors by means of E.G. locally produced biological foods. Since this subsystem also focuses on awareness, it will result in more awareness for tourists, by which the ecological footprint of the tourists will shrink eventually.
  • Water cycle: The water cycle is connected to the Happy Texel Index through its influence on Ecological footprint as well as Life quality. Since it is not feasible to aim for a fully self-sufficient water system, the focus of the system has shifted towards water management. This means that the sub-system; Water Cycle has less of an impact towards the ecological footprint as previously assumed, since the impact has slightly shifted towards life quality. Nevertheless, the subsystem Water Cycle will probably have a significant influence ecological footprint, and therefore also on the Happy Texel Index.



HPI (2015). Happy Planet Index: the data. Retrieved on January 15 2015, from:
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Chapter 8: Conclusions and recommendations


After spending nearly a week on Texel, many conclusions can be drawn related to the Health, Happiness and Well-being sub-system's research and the design worked during the previous weeks. The researchers were surprised of the many different initiatives related to sustainability already present in the island. Consequently, many of these initiatives which hadn't been found previously became part of the research. The preliminary research and the design were led by the following research questions:


How to design a sustainable lifestyle for Texelaars that promotes happiness, health and well-being with behaviours not only appealing to the inhabitants of the island but also to its visitors?

How to measure the achievement of sustainable happiness on the island?

How to empower Texelaars to become the driving force of the sustainability transition on the island?


Since the subsystem focuses on people, the key to its success do not lie in any technological solution, but in the values of the inhabitants of Texel and in implementing proper strategy to measure and guide the impact of sustainable initiatives on the living of people in the island. The most relevant research question turned out to be the one related to measuring sustainable happiness on the island, as it was a crucial step in identifying the current issues related to sustainable life quality standards and sustainable values in the island. Moreover, the concept of the Happy Planet Index was discovered and adopted to measure sustainable happiness on Texel. Then, the Happy Texel Index was created and its implementation prioritized in order to reach the future desirable state of the entire system.


Using the Happy Texel Index, it was possible to map the current level of sustainability values related to the actual lifestyles of Texelaars.  By measuring the values in current system with a survey, it was possible to form a clear image of the Texelaar and the sources of unsustainabilities in their behaviors. Moreover, it was possible to identify areas of dissatisfaction that could be prioritized by the municipality to improve the life satisfaction on the island. Fact becoming a critical point to give directions on how to design a sustainable lifestyle for Texelaars and improve on their current lifestyle and values. Just a direction was given as researchers believe that inhabitants need to feel empowered towards designing their own sustainable lifestyle by mixing their own individual needs, so no recipe can be prescribed on this matter.


After analyzing the data available, the Happy Texel Index read 50, value above the national media of 43.1, but still far from the ideal of 89. The exploratory research also provided clear ideas on which values needed to be improved and the current state of Texel's socio technical subsystem. These values are quite similar to the values researched during the first weeks, but now divided they are classified into clear sustainability criteria. Looking back at the preliminary research, the exploratory research performed on Texel confirmed the assumptions used for the previous design and provided new insights on challenges to face during the transition. These new insights helped to find a possible place for the Happy Texel Index (HTI) to be implemented, and they provided directions on how the HTI would contribute to the overall system and the sustainable transition of Texel.


Finally, facing the challenge of giving a direction on how to guide the change the values of Texelaars towards the proposed as more sustainable ones was the crucial step towards successfully rounding up the research and the report. Furthermore, combining these new sustainable values with the Happy Texel Index, the Texelaar have the tools to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle, next to which they would be more involved with finding solutions to all problems related to sustainability on Texel. To aid the development of these solutions, the  Jut platform, what was referred to as empowerment platform in the preliminary proposal, is the connection of the knowledge Route, and the waste and water cycles with the answer to the question of how the Texelaars can be empowered to become the driving force of sustainability on Texel. By assuming a moderating role from within the Jut platform to the HTI, the index will help to shape and to guide the entire transition towards a more sustainable future.




- For the HTI to accurately guide the sustainable transition of Texel, the index should be measured properly by the Innovation Center (JUT) themselves. However, in order to start the transition, it is necessary to execute research to measure properly the current state of the island as the results presented in this report were preliminary and based on estimations and a small sample of the population. Later on, it would be advised to continue the measurement periodically. Moreover, it would be good to measure the difference in the index between seasons to have an idea of the impact f tourism on the well-being of the island.

- Since the HTI can also assume a guiding role directly connected to the inhabitants of Texel, the index should also be made accessible to the inhabitants. Media such as the internet would serve in providing this information in an accessible fashion.

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Appendix 1: Survey results from exploratory research

Survey performed at Den Burg, Texel on January 13th, 2015.
Methodology: Quota sample of 30 persons (15 males and 15 females from the three age groups of interest: young (-30 years old), middle age (30-60 years old) and elderly (+60 years old).

Survey performed at Den Burg, Texel on January 13th, 2015.
Methodology: Quota sample of 30 persons (15 males and 15 females from the three age groups of interest: young (-30 years old), middle age (30-60 years old) and elderly (+60 years old).

Current Situation.png

Survey questionnaire (Dutch)

Enquête Leef kwaliteit

Dit is een enquête opgezet door TU Delft studenten voor het vak Engineering voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling. Deze enquête heeft als doel om de relatie tussen huidige duurzame waardes en huidige levenstevredenheid beoordelen. Deze informatie zal alleen voor wetenschappelijke doelen gebruikt worden.


Persoonlijke informatie

Leeftijd:           _________________________________________________________

Geslacht:         _________________________________________________________

Beroep:           _________________________________________________________

Opleiding:       _________________________________________________________

Hoe lang woont u al op Texel:            _____________________________________

Waar woonde u hiervoor:       ____________________________________________


Omcirkel de waarde die op u van toepassing is


Hoe gelukkig bent u met uw leven op een schaal van 1 tot 10?

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10


 Hartelijk bedankt voor uw medewerking.


Survey results

1. Calculations of HTI based on HPI, including comparison between age groups and recommendations to reach the desired goal in the future state.



Figure 1. Overall results of the survey for the sustainability criteria previously chosen


2. Survey responses:  

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