Greenpeace activists climb temporary parliament building in The Hague
Greenpeace activists climbed the temporary building of the lower house of Dutch parliament in The Hague. With this campaign, they want to draw attention to the damage nitrogen causes to nature. The organization believes that politicians should take more action against this and quickly. If that does not happen, Greenpeace will file a lawsuit against the state. "Our patience has run out," said director Andy Palmen.
Around twenty activists climbed the building with ladders early on Tuesday morning to reinforce Greenpeace's message. A number of activists were stopped by the police, who guard the main entrance of the building. Around 8:30 a.m. the activists were still on the roof near the main entrance. The police let them continue their action, but did keep an eye on them with a helicopter. "They probably want to show that they are on top of it," said Palmen. "We are also on top of it." That text is also on one of the banners Greenpeace hung.
"The Netherlands has been violating European nature conservation laws for years because of the extremely high emissions of nitrogen that precipitate in nature," the organization explained the protest. Greenpeace wants clarity about the nitrogen approach at the latest next week, during the parliamentary discussions about the national budget. "Our nature benefits from intervention as quickly as possible," said Palmen. When asked how realistic he considers a breakthrough, he said: "I believe in our democracy. The government failed, it is now up to the lower house of parliament." He is concerned about the outcome, however. "I'm not naive."
In front of the glass facade of the temporary parliament hung a large banner with the text: "Bla bla bla, nitrogen crisis. Politicians: tackle the natural crisis NOW". Another banner read: "Too much nitrogen and nature is gone". There were also dome tents on the roof. "To show that we will stay as long as possible," a spokesperson said.
In May, Greenpeace already took the first step in legal proceedings against the government. In a summation, the organization demanded, among other things, that nitrogen emissions be halved by 2025 at the latest. According to the environmental organization, 74 percent of the nitrogen-sensitive areas must be sufficiently protected by that year. The nitrogen law passed last year states that this percentage does not have to be reached until ten years later, in 2035.
Due to large-scale renovation of the Binnenhof in the coming years, parliament is temporarily located in the former building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, near Central Station. The MPs and employees moved into the building last week, which is also called 'Aponrots' or "monkey rock". That nickname refers to the building's architect, Dick Apon.
Reporting by ANP.