Facebook data center dealt a blow with Zeewolde election results


Leefbaar Zeewolde, the big winner of the municipal elections in Zeewolde, Flevoland this week, plans to do everything in its power to stop the arrival of a massive data center Facebook parent Meta wants to build in the municipality, party leader Tom Zonneveld said to Omroep Flevoland. Leefbaar Zeewolde doubled its number of council seats to 10, making the party big enough to hold a one-seat majority on the city council without a coalition partner.

Zonneveld believes his party won because of its opposition to the Meta data center. He sees the election results as an assignment from the voters to reverse the decision. “The most important step has already been taken: the zoning plan. It will be very difficult to reverse that,” Zonneveld said to the broadcaster. But there are other options, he said.

The first possibility is a vote on the sale of the land for the data center in the Senate next week. “We can at least let the members of the Senate know that Zeewolde has started to think differently about the data center,” he said. “In addition, the province still has to issue a permit, the Water Board has to issue a permit, parliament can still stop it, and the Central Government Real Estate Agency still has to agree to the sale of the land.”

Zonneveld plans to exert influence at every step in that process. “I see it as hurdles for Meta. And I want to try with every hurdle to slow the process.” Leefbaar Zeewolde hopes to work with the ChristenUnie in Zeewolde, who also voted against the data center.

Tamara Baas of the ChristenUnie told Omroep Felvoalnd that there’s little point in trying to change the zoning plan, but she has hope for the permit process. “And that is in the signal that the people of Zeeowlde have given us that it is about something big and that the decision may have to be taken by a government that can see the whole picture.”

As far s Zonneveld and Baas are concerned, the data center will be the first topic in the first city council meeting after the new city council is installed.

Spatial Planning Minister Hugo de Jonge is also against the data center being built on the site in Zeewolde which is owned by the state’s real estate arm. “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,” NOS quoted De Jonge as saying. “I think the Netherlands is too small for these very large data centers.”


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