Home » International Amsterdammers can vote on green spaces plan – DutchNews.nl

International Amsterdammers can vote on green spaces plan – DutchNews.nl

None-EU nationals may be excluded from the June 6 EU parliamentary election, but everyone who has lived officially in Amsterdam for at least five years will be able to vote in an advisory referendum about the city’s green spaces.

The council policy document on the city’s “hoofdgroenstructuur” runs to 90 pages and outlines which different types of green spaces there are in the Dutch capital and what should be protected, thereby ruling out residential or other development. 

The city’s current official policy dates from 2011 and a new strategy was finalised in 2022. “This new strategy protects more green areas and links green spaces together between built-up areas,” city officials say. 

But critics say the new policy will weaken protection for some of the city’s parks, gardens and more rural landscapes. In particular, they are concerned about council plans to erect more wind turbines within the city boundaries and say there are too many exceptions that will allow some building in protected areas. 

They are also critical about some of the definitions used in the report, which allow artificial grass sports fields, green roofs, private gardens and roadside verges to be classed as official city green spaces and count toward the total

The critics managed to collect enough signatures to force a referendum on the plans, which will also take place on June 6. The referendum is advisory only and city officials can ignore the result. 

People voting in the referendum will be asked “Are you for or against the decision which has been taken about the green infrastructure”, clearing the way for a simple yes or no answer. However, the English translation ran into trouble, and the city has been forced to replace 17 billboards promoting the referendum to its international residents. 

Reinier van Dantzig, who is in charge of the city’s green strategy, is not planning to campaign on the issue, and will not use council money or staff to promote his plans, he told city councillors earlier.

Eight groups that oppose the plans and five which want to run a neutral campaign, have applied for council funding to get their messages across. 

Voting passes are currently dropping through people’s letterboxes throughout the Dutch capital. If you have not received one and think you are entitled to vote, contact verkiezingen@amsterdam.nl 

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