Noisy neighbor complaints up 10% in Netherlands: report

Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie). (Dutch police at a crime scene (Stock Photo: Politie))

Dutch people are increasingly frustrated by their noisy neighbors. The number of noise complaints caused by neighbors increased by 10 percent over the past three years, the Volkskrant reports based on its analysis of 500 thousand noise complaints filed with the police between 2014 and 2017.

Noise complaints from neighbors make up the lion 's share of all noise complaints filed with the police, according to the newspaper. The Dutch mainly complain about loud music in their neighbor's home or during garden parties and noise nuisance on the balcony. 

The police receive most of the complaints because healthcare institutions and housing corporations are often not available outside office hours. The police only intervene if a quarrel between neighbors about noise escalates. Most complaints are referred to other agencies. 

"Neighbor reports are mainly a matter for housing corporations and the municipality's quality of life teams. The control room of the police works like a sieve", Wim Hoonhout of the Rotterdam police said to the newspaper. Though some noise complaints lead to something more. "A report of noise pollution often brings other problems to light, such as domestic violence or drug offenses."

According to Aedes, the umbrella organization for housing corporations in the Netherlands, noise complaints are often caused by tenants with disturbed behavior resulting from psychological problems, addiction or a mild intellectual disability. After pollution, noise caused by a disturbed person is the most frequently mentioned complaint among tenants, a spokesperson for Aedes said to the newspaper.

Aedes attributes the increase in complaints to the relocation of care from institutions to home. Housing corporations have few opportunities to intervene quickly, the spokesperson said. Aedes would prefer to make better agreements in advance with healthcare institutions about supervision and any measures in case of nuisance if someone leaves a mental health institution to live in a rental home or social shelter.