Kilometres of queues, tractors on Leeuwarden’s main square, and protest across the Netherlands
by Thomas Ansell
As reported in multiple outlets, both farmers and builders are out in force protesting against new regulations designed to lower their emissions. Per capita, the Netherlands has one of the highest levels of emissions in Europe, and the amount of nitrogen released into Dutch soil by intensive farming is creating issues for, amongst other things, nature reserves and protected landscapes.
The A6, A7, and A32 roads that criss-cross Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe have kilometres of queues, causing up to 2 hours of delays. In the city of Leeuwarden, tractors are blocking the western side of the city, around the offices of the Wetterskip Fryslân, who have recently decided to raise their rates. The popular shopping area ‘Zaailand’ is filled with tractors, as is the Wilhelminaplein. The Leeuwarder Courant has a live blog.
In Drenthe, much of the protest action is focussed on Assen, reports the Dagblad van het Noorden. The area around the Eemshaven in Groningen is also being targeted. An interesting addition to today’s protest is that German farmers have also crossed the border to support the Dutch protesters. German farmers have joined in in the east of the Netherlands (Achterhoek), and also in the North, with hundreds of tractors converging upon Coevorden in Drenthe, which sits next to the border.
The south and west of the Netherlands have not escaped the protests. In Tilburg, Brabant, farmers are blocking an Albert Heijn and Jumbo distribution centre, despite a court in Lelystad ruling yesterday that any such action is unlawful.
On Tuesday evening, the Dutch government managed to sign an agreement with the national organisation the Landbouw Collectief about nitrogen emissions. However, groups such as the ‘Farmer’s Defence Force’ (who were taken to court in Lelystad for their plans to block supermarket distribution centres), have said that this is an “incomplete accord in principle”, according to the Leeuwarder Courant.
Image via the Groninger Internet Courant