Hundreds of tractors on the highway: Farmers' protest causes busiest morning rush hour ever

Update 8:10 a.m. - At 7:55 a.m. there were over 1,050 kilometers of traffic jams on Dutch roads, especially in the center of the country. That makes this the busiest morning rush hour in Dutch history, the ANWB said. 

Hundreds of farmers from across the Netherlands are on their way to The Hague on their tractors, where they will demonstrate on Tuesday. The police are escorting multiple processions of tractors, to keep traffic problems as limited as possible. But despite this, traffic chaos is building up on multiple highways.

By 7:30 a.m. there were over 650 kilometers of traffic jams caused by the farmers, in combination with the rainy weather and a few accidents, according to travelers organization ANWB. Usually there are around 250 kilometers of jams by this time on a Tuesday. 

The traffic situation around Utrecht is already a crisis, according to ANWB. There is a 43 kilometer long traffic jam on the A2 from Den Bosch to Utrecht, between the Veghel off ramp and the Oudenrijn junction in Utrecht. On top of the slow moving tractors, there was also an accident at Waardenburg that left the right lane closed. Extra travel time of over two hours should be taken into account. Commuters are advised to detour through Gorinchem on the A15 or A2.

There is a 16 kilometer long jam on the A28 from Zwolle to Utrecht, between Amersfoort-Vathorst and the Rijnsweer junction. Extra travel time of over 30 minutes should be taken into account. ANWB advises a detour through Hilversum on the A1 and A27.

26 kilometers of traffic is piled up on the A12 from Arnhem to The Hague, due to slow riding farmers between the Maarn off ramp and Nieuwerburg. Commuters can expect to be stuck in this traffic jam for over 110 minutes. 

Traffic problems are also rearing their heads on the A15, and A27, though whether this has to do with the farmers' protest is not clear. There is a 22 kilometer long jam on the A15 From Nijmegen, between junction Deil and Hardinxveld-Giessendam. Motorists can expect to be stuck there for 65 minutes or longer. A 25 kilometer long jam on the A27 between Breda and Utrecht will keep cars in traffic for 2 hours longer than usual. 

The protest on Tuesday afternoon will mainly be about recognition for the agricultural sector, organization Agractie said to NU.nl. "We want a revaluation of agriculture, so that the citizen feels involved again in the food production process", initiator Bart Kemp said to the newspaper. 

The farmers feel that politicians and media are creating and spreading a negative image about them. They also want a clearer agriculture policy for the long term. 

Around 10 thousand farmers are expected to attend the protest. Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture and a number of parliamentarians said they will also attend the protest, NOS reports. 

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