Love thy neighbour: 2020 saw record number of neighbourly disputes
With everyone stuck indoors, unable to travel abroad or visit friends or family, working from home as the kids are attending school on Zoom, and deciding to invest in some much-needed home renovations, it’s perhaps unsurprising that last year saw a record number of arguments and quarrels between neighbours in the Netherlands.
Love thy neighbour...or maybe not
In 2020, neighbourhood mediation organisations across the country received around 20.000 reports of conflicts among neighbours - approximately 2.500 more than were reported in 2019. The annual figures from the Centre for Crime Prevention and Security (CCV) also revealed that, particularly in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, neighbourly relations regularly turned sour.
Unsurprisingly, most complaints concerned issues with unnecessary or increased noise, namely loud music, construction noise, or children playing noisily and disrupting the work and life of those living near to them.
CCV: Coronavirus had a major impact on quality of life
"We see that the corona crisis has had a major impact on the quality of life," said a spokesperson for the CCV. “Now that everyone is at home more often and meets a lot online and the children are at home all day, everyone notices more about their neighbours. You start to get annoyed by the sounds that have always been there. Add to that the noise of a neighbour doing jobs, and the pleasure of living is declining rapidly."
After complaints about noisy neighbours, most of the reports received by neighbourhood mediation organisations concerned (alleged) bullying - for example neighbours gossiping about one another or keying another person’s car - and so-called outdoor problems, such as smoke and smells from a barbecue.