News: RIVM investigates nuisance caused by aircraft noise

In 2020, more residents living near Dutch airports experienced severe nuisance and sleep disturbances than in 2002 despite the noise levels being the same. That was the conclusion of a study carried out by the National Insitute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Published on: 9 March 2023

In the early 2000s, the RIVM conducted research into the extent to which local residents experience nuisance from aircraft noise. That research was only done for Schiphol. This new study looked at fourteen airports in the Netherlands (Schiphol, Groningen, Rotterdam, Lelystad, Eindhoven, Maastricht and eight military airfields).

During the study, the RIVM compared the so-called average aircraft noise levels in decibels over the whole year with data from the Public Health Service (GGD) Health Monitor on the noise nuisance people report. The outcome of this comparative study indicates how much nuisance local residents experience at a given noise level.

Working from home more often

It appears that local residents experience more nuisance than you would expect based on the 2002 study. The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have possibly had an impact on this. After all, according to the GGD Health Monitor, local residents experienced more severe nuisance in 2020 than in 2016 despite there being more flights that year. This may be because people have started working from home more often and therefore hear more aircraft noise.

Furthermore, the extent to which noise nuisance is experienced differs per airport, although the RIVM cannot explain why this is the case due to the survey design. The GGD Health Monitor only asked about the degree of nuisance and sleep disturbance, and not about possible causes of this or circumstances that may influence it, such as people's attitude towards the airport or personal sensitivity to noise.

Striving for less noise nuisance

Schiphol and Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), with the support of the airlines, are committed to further reducing noise nuisance. We are doing that by continuing to work on measures that lower noise nuisance and improve the quality of the living environment. You can see the plan with measures we are taking on runway use, aircraft types, flight routes and procedures for daytime and night-time flights on

You can read the full RIVM article here.