Concerned citizens in conversation with Minister Harbers about the new approach route to Schiphol

Three activists from Stop4deroute today discussed a fourth approach route to Schiphol with Minister Harbers of Infrastructure and Water Management. The activists are afraid that the new route, which goes through Gelderland, Utrecht and ‘t Gooi, will cause a lot of inconvenience and health problems.

Stop4deroute in conversation with Minister Harbers – Photo: Stop4deroute

The intended fourth approach route to Schiphol Airport has been causing a lot of controversy for years. According to outgoing Minister Harbers, the new route should ensure that aircraft can make direct flights instead of detours, resulting in less CO2 and other harmful substances being emitted.

The fourth approach route would also be needed for the air force. They currently fly F-16s, which will soon become F-35s. They need a larger training area. Finally, the new route would make it easier to keep aircraft at high altitudes for longer. Nowadays many planes fly downwards gradually and that would cause a lot of noise pollution.

Yet there are doubts about the government’s interests in this. According to action group Stop4deroute, the fourth approach route is mainly about facilitating the growth in the number of flights. “That has to stop,” says Femke van Brussel of Stop4deroute.


Together with a group of activists handed over Last year, they sent 47,000 signatures from concerned citizens from Gelderland, Utrecht and Het Gooi to Minister Harbers. They do not agree with the intended approach route, which, according to residents, will not only cause a lot of noise pollution, but also pose health and nature problems.

“We are very pleased that the minister took these concerns seriously and was willing to sit down with us,” says Van Brussel. Today that conversation was in The Hague. Together with comedian Vincent Bijlo and Peter van Tienen, they spoke to Harbers about health, nature and climate and the size of aviation. Concerned citizens could watch and submit questions via a livestream.

“We are prepared to fight for this”

Femke van Brussel, Stop4deroute

“It was a very good and constructive conversation,” says Van Brussel afterwards. “There was a good atmosphere and we were really given the space to ask our questions. The minister also acknowledged that the new approach route could cause nuisance and that they will try to solve that as best as possible.” However, Van Brussel was critical about this: “That is of course a nice promise, but how do we know for sure?”

According to Van Brussel, the purpose of the conversation was to convey that there is not only resistance from the action group Stop4deroute and tens of thousands of citizens, but that they are also really angry. “We are prepared to fight for this. I think we have conveyed that, haha. It has to be solved. Aviation has to shrink.”


Will the conversation ultimately lead to change? “I don’t think so,” says Van Brussel. “But that is mainly because Minister Harbers is in a caretaker cabinet and can no longer do much. It is now up to the next cabinet. But in any case, we will not stop making noise.”

In the meantime, Stop4deroute continues to collect signatures to present to the next cabinet. “We now have almost 62,000 signatures. That shows that there are really a lot of people who are concerned. We hope that they will also be heard in the new cabinet.”