On March 22, The Dutch Senate passed a motion calling on the government to use its power to temporarily prohibit Meta (formerly known as Facebook) from building data centres in the Netherlands. 

In December of last year, the Zeewolde (central Netherlands) approved a plan to allow Meta to build data centres in the Netherlands. The data centre is expected to consume 1.38GWh of electricity, cover 410 acres (165 hectares) and be powered exclusively by green energy, creating 400 jobs. 

The scheme may seem to be a good idea, but some environmentalists have opposed it, claiming that green electricity in the Netherlands is limited and should not be occupied by global corporations. The motion, which requests a temporary ban on the construction of data centres until a national data centre policy is enacted, was supported by a majority in the Dutch Senate. The government should postpone construction until it can certify that the data centre meets environmental criteria and is compliant with upcoming national regulations, according to the motion.  

Stijn Grove, managing director of the Dutch Data Center Association, said the opposition was a political decision, and big tech corporations have not been popular recently. Grove also stated that Europe’s data infrastructure lags behind that of North America and Asia, and the Netherlands cannot be a data leader without infrastructure support.  

The Netherlands has about 60 data centre operators, which consume approximately 2.8% of the country’s electricity.