Dutch gov't not in control of rat problem: experts

"The Dutch government does not have a handle on the rat problem", according to Bastiaan Meerburg of the knowledge and advice center on animal plagues KAD. Even though many municipalities signal an increase in complaints about rats, there is no clear count on how many rats call the Netherlands home, NOS reports. 

According to Meerburg, the governments' biggest problem on this front is policy. "They place the responsibility with the municipalities, but then do not check whether they do what they promise." Another issue is municipalities' completely different approaches. "Some are effective, but you can also have an alderman who knows nothing about the theme and then very little happens."

Because the rules around rat poison will become even stricter in the coming years, KAD expects that the rat population in the Netherlands will continue to gain ground. In 2016 the Netherlands banned rat poison being placed outside. From 2023, private individuals will be banned from using rat poison at all. 

Over the summer, public health institute RIVM took the first step to visualize the rat problem in the Netherlands by launching the Rat Monitor - a hotline for professional  pest controllers. But there are no hard figures yet.

Based on numbers from a number of large municipalities, NOS reports that there were nearly 10 thousand reports of rat problems in 2018. The number of reports were particularly large in Amsterdam (2,632), in Rotterdam (2,161),  and in Arnhem (1,654). The broadcaster also asked the 355 Dutch municipalities bout the rat problem in their cities and towns. Over 40 percent of the 190 municipalities that responded said they think the number of rat reports have increased over the past five years.