Everyone can vote in Amsterdam’s green referendum

Amsterdam's Vondel park. Photo: Dutch News

Everyone who has lived officially in Amsterdam for at least five years can vote in an advisory referendum about the city’s green spaces on Thursday, as long as they have received a voting pass.

In total, 724,818 people are eligible to take part in the referendum, but the results will not be binding on the city council and officials can ignore the results.

The council policy document on the city’s “hoofdgroenstructuur” runs to 90 pages and outlines which different types of green spaces there are in the Dutch capital and what should be protected. 

But critics say the new policy will weaken protection for some of the city’s parks, gardens and more rural landscapes and say there are too many exceptions that will allow some building in protected areas. 

They are also critical about some of the definitions used in the report, which allow artificial grass sports fields, green roofs, private gardens and roadside verges to be classed as official city green spaces and count toward the total

People voting in the referendum will be asked “Are you for or against the decision which has been taken about the green infrastructure”, clearing the way for a simple yes or no answer.

None of the parties involved in campaigning for the referendum have published any information in English, and nor has the city council.

Referendums are also taking place in Katwijk and Alkmaar. In Katwijk voters are being asked to say if they support plans to extend the paid parking area, while in Alkmaar the vote is on plans to ban fireworks. Everyone who has lived in either town for more than five years can vote – if they received a voting pass.

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