Farmers protesting in The Hague today; tractors ordered to stay off highways

Tractors on Dutch roadways
Tractors jammed up the roadways several times and in various locations on Oct. 16, 2019Photo: Rijkswaterstaat

Update 9:00 a.m. - Den Haag police said on Twitter that they pulled over and fined several tractors on the highway on Wednesday morning. According to the Telegraaf, this happened on the A12. One tractor had a sign stating: "It's war: Never give up." The police in Drenthe also fined several tractor drivers overnight for driving their vehicles on the A28 highway. 

Thousands of farmers are heading towards The Hague on Wednesday morning to again protest against the government's nitrogen policy. The police ordered the farmers to stay off the highways with their tractors. Public works department Rijkswaterstaat therefore expects a morning rush hour that is no busier than usual, reports.

Action group Farmers Defense Force (FDF) expects thousands of farmers to show up for the protest in The Hague, ahead of the lower house of parliament discussing the nitrogen policy on Thursday. "The farmers are coming from all over the country again," FDF action leader Jeroen Van Maanen said to RTL Nieuws. The organization called on farmers to listen to the police and stay on the B roads

And so far, this seems to be what is happening. "Every now and then we see a tractor go on the highway, but only for a short while," a spokesperson for Rijkswaterstaat said to "It is still early, so it could possibly increase."

The demonstration in The Hague is scheduled from 11:55 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The municipality advised local residents to travel by bike or public transport in the city, because the city center will be virtually inaccessible. The Ministry of Defense blocked a number of roads with trucks to prevent farmers from accessing the Binnenhof. This happened on Tuesday evening, when a number of tractors drove onto the Binnenhof unannounced.

The farmers are protesting again because they believe their sector is too heavily affected by the nitrogen policy. The government has to cut nitrogen emissions significantly in order to be able to approve new construction projects, because the Nitrogen Approach Project was declared invalid. The farmers think that the nitrogen problems should not be dumped on the agricultural sector and want politicians to listen to the alternatives that the sector has come up with.

The government already announced a number of measures to help farmers cut their nitrogen emissions, according to RTL. Among other things, the cabinet made 172 million euros available for farmers to renew their stables and make them more sustainable. There will also be a fund for farmers who want to switch to circular farming. And the government made 350 million euros available for cattle farmers who want to stop farming.