Big Brother in Holland: 200,000 security cameras are watching you

At least 200,000 surveillance cameras are monitoring public spaces and buildings in the Netherlands, most of which are owned by private firms, according to new research.

The research was carried out by news website and news agency ANP using freedom of information legislation and shows the Netherlands has one security camera for every 82 inhabitants.

Most cameras – an estimated 180,000 – have been placed by companies and wealthy individuals. Next on the list are public transport companies with 17,500 cameras, many of which have been installed in buses and trams.

The police and local councils have installed 2,700 surveillance cameras, mainly in popular nightlife areas. The transport ministry has 1,700 cameras along the road network and Schiphol has 1,400 to monitor comings and goings in and around the airport complex.


‘In many cases, you can ask yourself if the cameras are really necessary,’ Gerrit-Jan Zwenne, a Leiden University professor, told webite Zwenne thinks the use of surveillance cameras is over-rated as a crime prevention tool.

‘All those images need to be looked at. Automation is increasing, but that is certainly not always the best solution,’ he said.

Are you being watched? Check out the map of camera locations.

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