Winnie (69) protests against air traffic this weekend: ‘The tide must turn fast’

The 69-year-old Winnie de Wit from Assendelft has to go up the barricade on Saturday because the pilots at Schiphol, according to her, are running out of control. “I feel like I’ve been overstimulated by the constant noise,” Winnie emphasizes. The Assendelftse is one of the speakers this weekend during the national action day for small aviation, which is held at Schiphol and five other Dutch airports.

Winnie is bothered by the aircraft noise in Assendelft – Jan Lapère

It has gotten a lot worse in recent years, according to Winnie de Wit. Assendelftsen has lived in the village since 1982 and notices that the number of planes flying over is increasing. “You just get nervous about it,” Winnie says. “My nerves are affected.”

“I have ‘ears on stalks’, as I call it. I listen unconsciously well to danger. That means I’m terribly shocked when my husband’s phone suddenly starts ringing a video.” The 69-year-old also suffers from various health problems, such as tinnitus, a loud disturbing noise in the ear, which she herself attributes to the loud noise of the plane.

More air traffic

According to Winnie, the genes have gotten worse in recent years. “The village has been destroyed by aviation,” she stresses. “There are several flights a night. I once counted 114 flights in one night.” That night, according to Winnie, there were about 85 flights between 6 p.m. 05.00 and 07.00.

No strong increase in night flights

At the request of NH Nieuws, Air Traffic Control Holland (LVNL) has analyzed the number of night flights over Assendelft in 2019, 2020 and 2021. This shows, according to a spokesperson, that there will be no sharp increase in the number of night flights over Assendelft compared to previous year in 2021.

In February, March and May 2021, the number of night flights was slightly higher, as a result of the Polderbaan not being available due to maintenance of the runway.

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Source: Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL)

Although LVNL shows that night flights have barely increased, Winnie is experiencing some trouble. “It’s so intrusive, if you do not live under it, you have no idea.” A simple solution, according to many people, is to move, but for Winnie it is not an option: “I have a man who can not move. He gets stressed.”

Moves due to the nuisances

Unlike her husband, her parents decided years ago to leave Zaanstad to have more peace and quiet in Heerhugowaard. Her daughter is also burdened by the noise. “In the beginning, my daughter would live far from Schiphol with her family.”

This is to the great annoyance of Winnie. “It hurt my stomach. I’m a family person, I want to babysit.” In the end, Winnie’s daughter chooses to continue living in Assendelft. “They now have one job instead of two.”

“There are local residents who indicate they have plans to relocate due to pilots,” said residents’ contact point Schiphol (BAS). “BAS provides objective information about air traffic to and from Schiphol that local residents can use in their decision-making process to relocate.”

Physical and mental genes

Although Winnie is happy that her family lives nearby, the 69-year-old grandmother is concerned about her granddaughter’s health. “We always have soot, a greasy substance on the windows. We can polish the windows, but not the lungs.”

Over the past year, via the website, an initiative of the Schipholwatch action group, more than 12,000 messages of pilots in the Zaan region. At the Residents’ Contact Point Schiphol (BAS), an independent reporting point set up by LVNL and Schiphol, there were 6,852 submitted by 364 residents:

Zaandam: 1167 reports, 65 reporters
Assendelft: 1438 reports, 83 reporters
jisp: 19 reports, 2 reporters
Koog aan de Zaan: 423 reports, 17 reporters
curve: 1532 reports, 59 reporters
Brands: 1 report, 1 reporter
Oostzaan: 1221 reports, 36 reporters
Oostknollendam: 25 reports, 2 reporters
Westknollendam: 29 reports, 3 reporters
Westzaan: 204 reports, 33 reporters
worm: 467 reports, 24 reporters
Wormer spring: 166 reports, 19 reporters
Zaandijk: 160 reports, 20 reporters

Source: Beiperkontaktpunkt Schiphol

The BAS reporters also count residents who would like to tell stories about their physical or mental ailments caused by pilots. “BAS employees always offer a listening ear. For understandable reasons, we do not want to go into the nature of these individual reviews, “says an employee at the contact point.

Fly less

To raise awareness of the issue, Winnie and other villagers will campaign on Saturday at one of the six airports. “We hope a lot of people will come, the shot should be turned around soon.” Winnie herself stands in Lelystad, ‘to explain to people there what it means to live under a runway’.

According to Winnie de Wit, the campaign is ‘public-friendly’ with music and moments of silence. And even though Zaankanteren has not even taken a plane for years, she does not blame people who do. “It has to do with politics. If you only have dollar signs in your eyes when you look at aviation, then you look blind.”

The solution is therefore simple: fewer flights are required. According to Winnie, good information about the climate crisis would help with this. According to Assendelftse, it is also important to do more research into the health effects and limit the number of transit routes. “It’s a seriously underestimated problem,” Winnie concludes resolutely.

Small increase in reports on BAS

According to BAS, the number of reviews about pilots increased added something last yeardespite a decrease in the number of flights to and from Schiphol in 2021 compared to 2020.

The residents’ contact point publishes the figures on the basis of one year of use. It runs from November 1 to October 31 of the following year. This explains why, according to BAS, fewer flights were flown in 2021 than in 2020, the year in which air traffic at Schiphol temporarily came to a complete standstill. Between November 1, 2019 and mid-March 2020, there were still plenty of flights.

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