Earthquakes in Groningen have damaged 69 out of the 100 listed buildings in the northern part of the province, according to the cultural heritage service Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed.
In total, 34 churches plus houses, farms and windmills have developed cracks and other problems because of the quakes. The Appingedam town hall has also been damaged, the organisation said.
The quakes are caused by the land settling following the extraction of natural gas from underneath the northern province.
One farm in the village of Onderdendam has been so badly damaged by the quakes national gas drilling group NAM was forced to buy the building in what it said was a ‘one-off’ gesture.
Meanwhile, parliament has called on economic affairs minister Henk Kamp to explain new claims that the earthquakes which regularly hit northern parts of Groningen may become stronger than first thought.
This week there have been claims the earthquakes are likely to get stronger and may even reach 6 on the Richter scale.
Three investigations into the direct of cause of the Groningen quakes and their impact on locals are currently underway. Many people are concerned about the effect on the value of their property.
NAM has said it will take steps to prevent damage to vulnerable buildings and is looking at ways to extract gas with less far-reaching effects. It describes the risks as ‘acceptable and manageable’.
NAM has had 9,100 reports of damage to homes in the region over the past year.
Kamp said in July there is no evidence yet that property prices have gone down in parts of Groningen because of the earthquakes.