This year's theme is Health & Aging. Both the Netherlands and China are coping with an aging population, however China’s population is aging more rapidly than those in other high- income and middle-income countries. Their aged population will be doubled in 2040. This demographic shift is closely linked to a health transition from communicable to (chronic) noncommunicable diseases, and to other socio- economic changes. Besides that, healthcare in China is not equally accessible to the country’s inhabitants. Other health- related issues in the country are for example caused by the quality of air and food.
“China is aging at an unprecedented pace. This trend will have profound financial and social consequences”
~The Economist, 2012
The population grows old and more health issues arise. The number of (younger) people who can take care of the elderly declines, due to a low birth rate and other changes in the China’s socio-economic landscape, such as rural –urban migration. Aged care homes are not as common in China as they are in the Netherlands because of their sense of filial piety. Besides an aging population, China also has to deal with challenges related to health. The air quality is a problem in especially the big cities and the recent food scandals have shaken up Chinese consumers their trust in nationally produced food products.
Mutual learning is for both the Netherlands and China beneficial. China's aging population is a relatively new problem, but very urgent because it is on a whole different scale. Whereas the Netherlands has 16,8 million inhabitants, of which roughly 25% will be aged 65+ in 2040, China will have 370 million elderly people. Therefore it is interesting to research what the developments are in China and what innovative solutions they come up with. At the same time, it offers opportunities for the Dutch government and companies to penetrate the Chinese market with their expertise.
- An inquiry into the changing market: what would be needed to adjust a certain product to an aging consumer group
- Research into the chances for cooperation between China and the Netherlands in the field of elderly health care.
- Exploration of healthy urban living and how China and the Netherlands can learn from each other.