The northern Dutch provinces of Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen opened a joint English-language website on Tuesday aimed at getting plug-in US car maker Tesla to settle in the region. Their slogan is: ‘Hi Tesla. We are top Dutch’.
The website campaign pulls no punches, even appealing to Californian sensitivities by claiming the Netherlands could be called the 51st state. It cites outgoing US president Barack Obama as saying ‘Without the Netherlands, there wouldn’t be a USA as everyone knows it now.’
Perhaps its strongest argument is that the electric car was developed in the ‘Top of Holland’. Here’s what they claim: Sibrandus Stratingh was a chemistry and physics professor at the University of Groningen in the 19th century. His dream was to build an automatic car.
In 1834, he drove around the city center of Groningen in a prototype steam powered car, scaring off horses and people. Stratingh and his assistant almost choked in the smoke and steam exhausts. So they decided to invent something radically new. One year later, Sibrandus Stratingh had invented the first battery powered electric car.
The northern Netherlands has a lot of competition for the Tesla mega-plant, but the region is going all out to spark interest, the Financieele Dagblad said. Groningen provincial councillor Patrick Brouns says the area has a lot of trump cards: ‘We score well nearly everywhere,’ he told the paper.