Tape your neighbours’ noise pollution as proof

By

dbmeter

Noise pollution, Dutch style: some 16.5 million of us are packed into a small country and the people living in the four big cities known in Dutch as the ‘Randstad’ (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague) often live in old houses that have very little isolation. I have friends who refuse to live anywhere with upstairs neighbours, and in my case here in Amsterdam I can hear the neighbours’ dog yelping at passers-by. When I lived in Nijmegen, the old man downstairs had the telly on really loud. The day that stopped, we found out he had passed away.

We can’t just move to the country: for most jobs you need to leave within 10 km of your work because beyond that employers would have to pay for your travel costs and therefore will not hire you. Coming by car means major traffic jams, and so we live in town and often bike to work. You can’t rent anything in the country, you have to buy, which many people can’t do. Oh, and in the country, they have bored youth with noisy, high-pitched scooters driving around, which has become a major noise pollution issue.

So tape your neighbours in the hopes of getting them evicted is a new strategy in the country’s second biggest city, Rotterdam. Granted, many people will pipe down if you ask them nicely, but many people, and I am sorry to say, usually with children, have no idea what kind of anti-social racket they are making.

“Since February, Rotterdam is offering possible victims of ‘noise pollution’ a noise-o-meter to monitor the nuisance. The noise-o-meter is part of a campaign to counter ‘neighbourhood terror’. According to a city survey last year, some 49,000 people in the Netherlands’ second major city say they regularly suffer serious nuisance from neighbours. The noise-o-meter offers ‘an objective measure of the sound, which gives us a stronger legal case in case of an eviction request,’ said city executive Hamit Karakus about the new weapon.”

(Links: nrc.nl, Photo of db meter by jepoirrier, some rights reserved.)

7 Comments »

  1. My neighbors dog barks at everything that moves. He is a big dog and he barks loudly. I hate it. She puts the dog out four or fives times a day. Sometimes he’s quiet but sometimes he just won’t stop.

    Comment by Neil — March 4, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  2. “for most jobs you need to leave within 10 km of your work because beyond that employers would have to pay for your travel costs and therefore will not hire you.”

    These generalisations are simply not true. Your opinion, perhaps, but not fact. You imply that employers make their hiring decisions mainly based on whether they save a few euros on travel costs reimbursements? Nonsense. Most of that money is deductable (subsidized through taxation). Some will, based on their actual services (locaton based, alert-ready, or whatever), require someone to live close, but that’s certainly not based on what you state.

    “You can’t rent anything in the country, you have to buy, which many people can’t do. Oh, and in the country, they have bored youth with noisy, high-pitched scooters driving around, which has become a major noise pollution issue.”

    You can rent anything you want in the country, just as much as you can buy. The deciding factor for either would be: can you afford it? Something completely different.

    Have you checked the streets lately? I think you’ll find most ‘bored youth on scooters’ in the city.

    “Granted, many people will pipe down if you ask them nicely, but many people, and I am sorry to say, usually with children, have no idea what kind of anti-social racket they are making.”

    Obviously, the NRC article offered you a nice way to vent your own frustrations/experiences. But you made the classic mistake of adding overarching nonsense.
    Example: do you know that SIRE campaign called ‘Pas Op, Aardig!’? This organisation felt the need to raise awareness for a ‘growing problem’ in NL: that ‘more and more people are uncomfortable with strangers offering help’ and don’t know how to respond to that. Turns out, this campaign was based on a survey in which 17% of the respondents felt this way or to a lesser degree. So, that includes the rating ‘sometimes’ / ‘somewhat’. I think you’ll understand what I’m getting at.

    This perpetuation of personal experience as general fact, loosely blown out of proportion, doesn’t do a blog like this any good. And I don’t think you want me to generalize by saying: “Orange24 is just a blog like any other, just a dude in his pyjamas typing away in his parents’ attic”. Right?

    Comment by Amsterdamize — March 4, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  3. Of course these are generalisations, that was the point of writing them, to get people to talk. Thanks for that.

    We don’t need to vent about work, we run businesses.

    We are just another blog :)

    Comment by Orangemaster — March 4, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

  4. I don’t think you see my point. Opinions are opinions, and blog or no blog, you need to at least base them on some facts to use any kind of generalization. And yours were very shaky, to say the least.

    In the same way that your post about the Dutch (and their children) not wearing bicycle helmets was way off base, wagging your finger and just reiterating what people abroad (in car-centric countries) have come to believe (read: fear-mongering), in essence calling all Dutch parents irresponsible. In that case, you still have a lot of research to do to come the finer points of life in the Netherlands.

    Comment by Amsterdamize — March 4, 2010 @ 5:02 pm

  5. I totally get your point, but you shouldn’t take anything here or elsewhere that seriously.

    I am generalising and my opinion is not and never will be final. It’s just a blog.

    Many people liked the bicycle helmet story. None of my Dutch and non-Dutch friends with children and no helmets felt attacked.

    If and when they do, they comment. I like that.

    I haven’t called a bunch of people irresponsible. That’s your opinion.

    Fear-mongering is what a certain blond haired politican does here, not me!

    (And tomorrow I have a nice iPhone app to talk about. It can’t possibly bother anybody.)

    Comment by Orangemaster — March 4, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  6. Less Golden Age, and more Golden Rule. What’s the point of a modern, progressive country if the lowest common denominator rules the roost? It’s not fair, and it’s not a good move.

    Comment by chris — March 4, 2010 @ 6:01 pm

  7. Nice article. I do agree that some statements should not be viewed as factual. I’ve experienced (also in a hiring role) companies showing a preference for candidates within 20-30km radius, but that’s mostly for ease of getting to work, not for the cost of travelling allowance.

    I won’t make that a breaking point though.

    I’ve noisy upstairs neighbours, I hope the noise-o-meter comes to Amsterdam!

    Comment by Amsterdamned? — June 11, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

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