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University of Amsterdam staff who engage in official travel abroad cause almost 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. This is almost 6% of the UvA’s total emissions. We believe it is important to reduce our carbon footprint. The aim of the UvA’s travel policy is to have reduced the CO2 emissions caused by official travel by 25% compared to 2019 levels in 2026.

Making increased use of buses and trains

A large part of our CO2 emissions are the result of official travel by air. Even today, we continue to fly to destinations that are equally easy to reach by more sustainable modes of transport, such as trains or buses.

In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we have agreed to take the following steps:

  • We will no longer fly to destinations that can be reached by train within six hours. Short flights may still be taken in exceptional situations, subject to the line manager’s approval.
  • Travelling by train is expressly the preferred option for destinations that can be reached within eight hours.
  • Obviously, you may also take the train to destinations further away than eight hours’ travel. Doing so is beneficial, because the longer the train journey, the more CO2 emissions you prevent.
  • If there is no alternative to flying, direct flights are preferred over indirect flights as they cause fewer CO2 emissions.
  • If travelling by train is not an option, you should consider travelling by bus instead. If you are travelling as a group, travelling by electric or regular car is another sustainable alternative.

Curious about the advantages of rail travel over air travel? Read the interview with history teacher and fervent train traveller Daniël Knegt. 

Is travel necessary?

The most effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of our official travel is to reduce the number of trips.

Before they embark on official travel, staff are encouraged to consider attending their meeting, conference or event remotely. This is particularly important in the case of long trips that cannot be made by train, which cause by far the largest volume of CO2 emissions.

Map of Europe showing destinations reachable by train from Amsterdam within 6 and 8 hours.
  • Train travel map written out in text

    The map shows travel destinations in Europe and the time to reach them from Amsterdam:

    • Antwerp: 1:17
    • Brussels: 2:03
    • Leuven: 2:19
    • Cologne: 2:38
    • Paris: 3:18
    • Lille: 3:35
    • Frankfurt: 3:55
    • London: 4:10
    • Hamburg: 5:12
    • Cambridge: 5:17
    • Oxford: 5:50
    • Lyon: 6:12
    • Berlin: 6:20
    • Bordeaux: 6:41
    • Manchester: 6:58
    • Munich: 7:20
    • Marseille: 8:06