Landscape design as a solution to ground noise

The residents of Hoofddorp-Noord have been affected by ground noise nuisance since Runway 18R-36L was opened. Especially in winter, when the ground is wet or hard and reverberates the ground noise waves. Wind direction and force also play a role.

Searching for a solution together

We joined the Hoofddorp Noord residents' association and the municipality of Haarlemmermeer to search for a solution. The result was an innovative plan to reduce the nuisance created by ground noise: the Landscape Design Plan. The object of the plan was to reduce ground noise by 10 dB.

Based on the joint plan, ground ridges were constructed in several places in the area between Hoofddorp Noord and Runway 18R-36L. Multiple ridges helps disperse the low frequency ground noise. Residents of Hoofddorp-Noord experience less nuisance as a result.

TNO's innovative idea: sound-reflecting ground ridges

The ground ridges are wedge-shaped hills that deflect the sound waves upwards thanks to their sloping surfaces. The ridges are 3 metres tall (1.5 metres above ground level and 1.5 metres below). Using ground ridges was TNO's idea: the national applied scientific research organisation calculated the noise reduction and also took measurements using a scale model in a wind tunnel.

Phase 1: Ridges on the Schiphol grounds

The first sections of ridges were installed on the Schiphol grounds around Runway 18R-36L. TNO carried out the initial sound-ranging in October 2011. The results were positive. The ground ridges worked as anticipated, was the conclusion. This gave us sufficient confidence that the total Landscape Design Plan would be successful.

Phase 2: Buitenschot

The second phase of the Landscape Design Plan involved creating ridges as part of Buitenschot, a recreation area conceived by the Stichting Mainport en Groen. Buitenschot is a ‘land art park’ where recreation, art and reducing ground noise are uniquely intertwined.

Ground ridge structures create a park landscape featuring vistas, long axis views and sheltered areas. A unique aspect is how the ridges serve a dual function: they also reduce ground noise. Whilst the design makes the park itself an art form (hence the name ‘land art park’), there are works of art in the park, too. The Land Art Park opened in October 2013.