Shh! Don’t disturb the peace
3 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — In the rush, rush world of the 21st century, noise pollution from cars, construction works or your partying neighbours is a common problem, but rest assured tranquility is not too far away as the quietest place in the Netherlands has recently been discovered.
And where is it, you ask. It is found on moors in the Utrechtse Heuvelrug nature reserve, near the central town of Maarn. It is also where environment groups unveiled a so-called “silence seat” on Wednesday.
But despite claiming the honour of being the quietest place in the Netherlands, there is still noise to be heard in the reserve. The forested area absorbs most of the noise from the motorway, but 40 decibels of sound can still be heard on a normal weekday.
Silence researcher Frits van den Berg said the area is at its quietest on Sunday mornings when there is a slight southerly breeze. On such days the noise level is a “very quiet” 20 decibels, NOS reported.
At the request of the Stichting Natuur en Milieu (Nature and Environment Foundation), the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen conducted noise tests throughout the summer in four large nature and recreation reserves, namely De Wieden, De Weerribben, Nationaal Park de Utrechtse Heuvelrug and the De Zak van Zuid-Beveland.
Besides noise measurements, residents and visitors were also asked what disturbs them the most – and traffic was the most common response. In the Zak van Zuid-Beveland, noise from industry was the worst problem, while motor boats disturbed the peace in De Wieden and De Weerribben.
Nature and environment foundation official Karin de Feijter said the results of the study indicated that despite the fact people seek the outdoors to find peace, essentially nowhere is suitable. She called for the restriction of motorway speed limits and the use of different asphalt.
Meanwhile, at the quietest place in the Netherlands a seat has been built for visitors to take the weight off their feet and relax. But it is not intended that everyone can visit it at the same time as there would, of course, be no silence left to enjoy.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news