Amsterdam to Halt Data Center Development Until 2020

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — After years of luring tech companies from the world over with generous tax breaks and cheap power, Amsterdam has announced via a press release that the city can’t handle anymore supply, at least until 2020, citing too much strain on the Dutch capital’s property market and power networks.

“The number and size of data centers in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (MRA) have increased sharply in recent years: the MRA now belongs to the region with the most data centers in the world. Data centers have become indispensable facilities for almost all residents, businesses and institutions, but they also take up a lot of space and, due to the high energy consumption, take a big load on the electricity grid,” reads the press release (translated from Dutch into English).

“At present, municipalities have hardly any instruments at their disposal to steer where the data centers are located, or which requirements they must meet. To get more control over the establishment of data centers, Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer have therefore both taken a preparatory decision, which will temporarily halt the establishment of data centers while awaiting new regional policy,” the release continues.

“Our excellent data center infrastructure is a magnet for (international) tech companies and brings a lot of employment with it,” said the Dutch Data Center Association, who expressed disappointment with the decision in a statement of their own. “We are surprised that a rigorous decision like this is being taken right now and so suddenly.”

“The arrival of data centers is in a certain sense a consequence of our own consumption and lifestyle: we want to be online on our phones and laptops all day. To a certain extent we will have to accept the associated infrastructure, but the space in Amsterdam is scarce,” added Marieke van Doorninck, Alderman for Sustainability and Spatial Development in Amsterdam in the same press release. “As municipalities, we therefore want more control over the establishment of new data centers and we also ask them to contribute to the sustainable tasks of the city. We are going to set requirements in the area of ​​making available residual heat free of charge for the heating of homes and the use of green energy.”