The arrival of the mega data center in Zeewolde has become very uncertain. Minister De Jonge of Spatial Planning wants to get rid of it. In addition, parties in Zeewolde that are against the arrival of the data center of Facebook’s parent company Meta gained a large majority in the municipal elections this week.
The construction has not yet been definitively finished. Officially, it is now up to the Central Government Real Estate Agency to decide whether it wants to sell a piece of land that is needed for the construction of the data center to the municipality. Requirements have been drawn up for the sale. Zeewolde submitted documents last week with an explanation of how it thinks it can meet those requirements.
A spokesperson for the Central Government Real Estate Agency does not want to prejudge the decision. The agency is now going to look at the explanation from the municipality, including together with TNO. “It is our land and we have set conditions for its sale. It is highly questionable whether Zeewolde will be able to meet those conditions,” says De Jonge. “I think the Netherlands is too small for those very large data centers.”
‘Use all means’
One of the parties that are strongly against the arrival of the data center is Leefbaar Zeewolde. The party obtained a majority in the municipal elections this week (10 of the 19 council seats) and attributes this gain to its position on the arrival of Meta. “We are going to use all means to prevent the arrival of the data center”, says party chairman Tom Zonneveld.
With the approval of the zoning plan, it is in principle out of the hands of the council. “But that does not mean that the council is finished,” says Zonneveld. He points out, among other things, that talks can also be held with the province and the water board, which still have to issue permits.
Zonneveld also says that he cannot rule out the possibility that Meta will withdraw. A spokesperson for the tech company said in a response today that he had “taken note of the election results” and the company wants to continue talks with interested parties.
A thorny issue surrounding the arrival of the mega data center is that it consumes a lot of power. In this video we explain how that works:
In addition to Leefbaar Zeewolde, the ChristenUnie is also known as an opponent of the data center. Group member Erik van de Beld says that in Zeewolde it is also possible to reverse the decision to change the zoning plan. “But that’s mismanagement,” he says.
Both Leefbaar and the ChristenUnie also fear that if it is decided to roll back Meta could file a claim for damages. The company declined to comment today on whether that is an option.
What both parties also point out is that the Senate will vote next week on a motion that calls on the cabinet to stop the implementation of the zoning plan – which makes the arrival of the mega data center possible – until it is clear that the construction does not conflict. is with government policy. They hope that the motion will get a majority.
Punished by voter
In the vote on the zoning plan in December, the GroenLinks/PvdA faction was decisive. That party has since merged with BurgerBelang and Zeewolde Liberaal Zeewolde to become Actief Zeewolde; all four councilors agreed.
She has not been thanked for this: of the four members, one will remain in the new council after the elections. “We did not expect and certainly did not hope that it would turn out so extreme,” said party chairman Yvonne van Bruggen.
“It is outrageous that Leefbaar Zeewolde and ChristenUnie have made this an election item, because we no longer deal with it as a council.” In her view, those parties promise something that they simply cannot deliver. Despite the election results, Van Bruggen still stands behind her vote in December, although she says she does not mind if the mega data center is not built.