Anyone paying attention knows that the Dutch, as a people, are way ahead of the rest of the world in terms of reducing their carbon footprint while simultaneously planning to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Being a coastal nation with much of your land below sea level will do that to a culture. They seem to have developed some very collaborative attitudes and habits over the centuries since they inhabited the lowlands along the North Sea.

This Business Week article describes some of the initiatives under way in Amsterdam, with partnership from some of the big companies in tech and banking helping to push things along.

The projects, all getting under way over the next few months, represent Amsterdam’s initial steps toward making its infrastructure more eco-friendly. The move comes as governments worldwide set aside billions of dollars to create so-called “smart cities,” or towns that mix renewable projects, next-generation energy efficiency, and government support to cut overall carbon dioxide footprints. Yet, unlike cities that could take decades to upgrade their infrastructure, Amsterdam aims to complete its first-round investments by 2012. That makes it one of the first and most ambitious adopters of the smart city concept, attracting attention from policymakers worldwide hoping to glean lessons from the green experiment.