DDA disapproves establishment decision by Municipality of Amsterdam

DDA disapproves establishment decision by Municipality of Amsterdam

The Dutch Data Center Association (DDA), trade organization for data centers in the Netherlands, is disappointed about the decision of the Municipality of Amsterdam’s decision to implement drastic measures to restrict the development of new data center projects. 

The overwhelming feeling is a lack of understanding for this sudden decision. What is the purpose of this preparatory decision (voorbereidingsbesluit)? After all, the current grid congestion in North Holland is blocking the growth of the data center sector as well as many other businesses and industries. Therefore, the preparatory decision is reminiscent of symbol politics. The issues with the current grid congestion will not disappear.

The Municipality of Amsterdam issued the decision, therefore the decision applies to the territory of the Amsterdam municipality (see red area in the image below). Important to mention is that the rest of Metropole Region Amsterdam (MRA), including the largest data center campus in Schiphol-Rijk, lies outside the scope of this decision and thus will not be subject to the same restrictions. The MRA-areas outside the Municipality of Amsterdam include Schiphol-Rijk, Haarlemmermeer, Diemen, Almere, Zaanstreek, and ‘t Gooi.

In practice, the result of the preparation decision is the obstruction of two important – and coinciding – transitions: digitalization and sustainability. In addition, the Municipality of Amsterdam’s decision contributes to the incorrect and damaging image of data centers, which are based on factual inaccuracies and oversimplified judgments. The assumption is that data centers have no significant value to society, guzzle water and energy resources and hinder the sustainability goals of the Netherlands. 

Data Centers & Sustainability 

In reality, however, data centers play an extremely important role in society’s ongoing sustainability efforts and the Netherlands’ future earning capability. Previously, companies stored their data locally but data migration to cloud applications and data centers has resulted in immense energy savings, according to a variety of independent research. While our society has embraced the Internet, global data center energy consumption has remained virtually unchanged thanks to efficient data center operations. Moreover, thanks in part to data centers, energy conservation has become easier for many businesses and households through, for example, the implementation of cloud, smart-home, or AI solutions. 

Therefore, our future is digital and sustainable. To achieve this, a sustainable data center sector will be essential for the future economy and society. 


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