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Dutch province curbs growing urban noise levels

Gelderland, Netherlands

A Dutch province is cutting noise levels from its roads and, in doing so, reducing serious adverse effects on human health as well as improving local residents’ living conditions. It is estimated that as many as one in three Europeans is affected by road traffic noise levels above those acceptable by the World Health Organisation. Gelderland province was no exception, until recent developments turned this around.

Natural areas benefit from noise reduction efforts in Gelderland Natural areas benefit from noise reduction efforts in Gelderland

“Diminishing noise disturbance for better living conditions and a healthier environment – this is our new approach.”
Bernard Enklaar, Programme Manager, Gelderland

Gelderland is the fourth largest province in the Netherlands with a population of roughly 1 975 700. Thanks to a project supported by the EU, the region is benefiting from innovative infrastructure which improves traffic conditions. The project shows that reducing noise can be about more than just making silent engines and tyres, new road surfaces can reduce overall noise output by up to ten decibels.

Laying silent roads

A noise-reducing asphalt structure has been applied along 45 km of Gelderland’s roads, thereby lessening the noise burden of passing traffic on local residents. A cycling path has also been included in this new development, encouraging recreational use not just by cyclists but also by fans of rollerblading.

Ten separate strips of road were covered in neighbourhoods in Veluwe (Harderwijk, Apeldoorn), Achterhoek (Winterswijk) and Graafschap (Ruurlo, Borculo, Lochem). The din once produced by the heavy traffic that circulated on secondary roads crossing two of the region’s largest natural areas has now been reduced to a whisper much to the relief of locals and tourists.

For a better quality of life

Many western European countries are concerned by vehicular noise, especially in cities where 60% of residents are said to be exposed to noise levels exceeding 55 decibels. This is the point at which the World Health Organisation considers the onset of annoyance occurs. While people react differently to different noises, their annoyance can lead to feelings of anxiety, helplessness and exhaustion.

Through the use of special asphalt mixes on concrete surfaces, environmental conditions and comfort can be improved, leading to guaranteed noise reduction for up to ten years and lessening the likelihood of annoyance caused by road traffic.

Technical information


ERDF for the period 2000 to 2006

EU Investment

EUR3 590 000


Provincie Gelderland
Postbus 9090
NL-6800 GX, Arnhem
Programmamanager EFRO- GO-Oost Nederland
Bernard.P., Enklaar
Tel.: 026 3599529


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