Growth at Schiphol has Dutch divided

Schiphol Amsterdam
Schiphol Airport. Jul 16, 2015Photo: Boarding2Now/DepositPhotos

The issue of whether or not Schiphol should be allowed to grow further, has the Dutch population divided. A tiny majority thinks the airport should be allowed more flight movements, while an almost as large group thinks it should stay as it is, according to a study by I&O Research on behalf of environmental organizations Milieudefensie, RTL Nieuws reports.

The researchers found that 35 percent of Dutch think Schiphol should grow. 34 percent think the airport should neither grow nor shrink, 24 percent think it should shrink, and 7 percent have no opinion on the matter. 

According to Milieudefensie, there are two ways to look at these figures - one is that 69 percent of Dutch don't want Schiphol to shrink, the other that 58 percent don't want Schiphol to grow. The environmental group prefers to focus on the second one. "The government is set on growth, while a majority say it doesn't have to go that way", Bram van Liere of Milieudefesie said to the broadcaster.

Schiphol is currently allowed 500 thousand flight movements per year. That limit is in place until 2020. After that Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen of Infrastructure and Water Management wants to allow more takeoffs and landings at the airport, arguing that it is good for the Dutch economy. 

But according to Van Liere, that is nonsense. "Recent research, that still has to trickle through, shows that Schiphol is not at all so important for the economy. That we can handle shrinkage well. And that it has benefits for the environment." 

"We believe that Schiphol should shrink. We see that a large part, albeit a minority of the population, thinks the same", Van Liere said. But as shrinkage seems to still be too much to ask, Milieudefensie hopes that the Minister will at least halt the growth plans.