Netherlands getting darker; at a "turning point" for light pollution

Despite public street lighting and illuminated advertising, many Dutch cities are getting darker, according to a study of the 54 largest cities in the Netherlands by Natuur- en  Milieufederaties. The environmental federations call this a "turning point" for light pollution in the country. The Netherlands is one of the most illuminated countries in the world, AD reports.

Over the past six years, the researchers looked at the rising light above Dutch cities, measured from a great height by satellite Suomi NPP. "After years of more light every year, the Netherlands seems to have reached a turning point", the federations said on Thursday.

Stadskanaal in Groningen, Dronten in Flevoland, Emmen in Drenthe, and Heerenveen in Friesland are relatively the darkest cities. The most light pollution comes from Amsterdam and the area in which Delft, The Hague, Zoetermeer, and Rotterdam are located.

Whether the light pollution will continue to decrease in the coming years, depends largely on businesses, according to the federations. Municipalities, provinces and public works department Rijkswaterstaat are already making sure that "it is dimmed and extinguished wherever possible. But due to the low cost of LED lighting, some companies tend to leave the lights and advertisements on all night", a spokesperson said to the newspaper.

The federations are the initiator of the 'Nacht van de Nacht', which will be held for the 14th time on Saturday. During this night there are hundreds of events in the dark throughout the country, hundreds of companies and municipalities turn off the lights of buildings and no advertisements are illuminated.