Lockdown leads to rise in noise complaints against neighbours

Lockdown leads to rise in noise complaints against neighbours

Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, people in the Netherlands have been quicker to pick up the phone and call the police to complain about their noisy neighbours. 

Noisy neighbours in lockdown

The number of noise complaints has reached an all-time high since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March. January and February’s numbers were on par with 2019’s figures, however they shot up dramatically in March - from 7.612 in February, to 10.652 in March. 

And the number of complaints reached is continuing to rise, in spite of the end of lockdown. July of this year saw the Dutch police receive almost 20.000 complaints, almost 7.000 more than in July 2019. 

Almost all complaints received by police forces across the country concerned noise in their street or from their neighbours. Complaints about events or catering establishments (horeca) were much lower than normal. 

The noisiest city in the Netherlands

Rotterdam saw the highest increase in noise complaints. The number of complaints received by local police in July 2020 was double the number received in the same month last year (542 versus 1.063). Amsterdam’s figures also increased drastically, peaking in June at 881 complaints, double the number received in June 2019.

The province with the most complaints per 10.000 inhabitants was Groningen, with an average of 67,3 complaints per 10.000 people. Zandvoort had the highest rate for a municipality, with an average of 113,9 complaints per 10.000 inhabitants.

Lockdown left people easily frustrated

Police say it is unsurprising the figures have risen so significantly this year, with people spending more time at home, not going out for work or to see friends, and unable to go on holiday over the summer

With more time on their hands, a number of people also carried out DIY work on their homes, which also increased noise pollution. The weather has also been warm and dry this year, so people were able to spend more time outside in their gardens.

Marcel de Rouw, a local police officer in Vught (North Brabant), said people have become easily frustrated by noise: “People have been sitting together for so long - that causes irritation. Young people are often the cause, but I also regularly deal with adults who make noise.”

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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