Gas that enriched the Netherlands left ruins behind


Gas extraction in the Groningen region in the north causes thousands of earthquakes. Neighborhoods look like disaster zones. Extraction work is due to be completed in 2024, but the war in Ukraine may delay it.

Consequences of the gas industry

Overschild is a typical Dutch village, now the buildings are scarred. Cracks run through walls and floors. Huge wooden beams are part of the atmosphere. Eighty percent of the village is to be demolished, its facilities are unsafe to occupy.

We have been treated badly. We are basically a colony of the Netherlands. They take all the wealth and we get hardly anything in return.

Coert Fossen, president of the Groningen Earth Movement.

Gas extraction

The extraction of gas from the sandstone has caused more than 1,000 earthquakes. This began when Exxon Mobil and Shell started drilling in 1963. The Dutch state has earned US $442 billion from this industry.

Some of the canals that once flowed from east to west changed direction. Even cows have been seen running for shelter when a tremor occurs.

Coert Fossen.

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Displaced population

As a result, a new neighborhood was built. This area is for the hundreds of internally displaced persons in the Netherlands. Moreover, there are several of these temporary housing developments in each village.

Currently, the extraction is not over yet, even though the Dutch government is aware of the situation, the residents are fighting against a system that only granted them basic compensation.

If you ask how this could happen in the Netherlands… people didn’t believe it. People in high places had trouble believing this, he admits, referring to the initial earthquakes and the damage they caused in 2012. This used to be something we were very proud of. It was a big thing. We became rich because of it. 

Hans Vijlbrief, minister of extractive industries.

Battle for rights

The conflict in Ukraine is forcing governments to maintain their dependence on Russian oil and gas. With the cost of energy rising, there is growing pressure within Europe to tap reserves closer to home. 

This implies that the gas extraction project in the Netherlands will not close by the year it was scheduled to. So populations are very uncertain about their future.

Also, in many cases, people are using their savings to live in a secure home.this insecurity and the never-ending battle for their rights has a serious impact on the mental health of the population.

Finally, Tom Postmas, professor of social psychology at the University of Groningen, reports that a study found that approximately 16 people a year die prematurely in this area.

More information about gas, here.

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