Parent company Facebook discontinues plan for Zeewolde data center

30 Jun. 2022 in THE COUNTRYSIDE

However, the arrival of Meta was controversial because of, among other things, doubts about its sustainability and social benefits.


AMSTERDAM – Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, has definitively put an end to its plans for a data center in Zeewolde. There had been much opposition to the arrival of the data center for some time and the government recently decided not to make the land available. Meta decided to suspend the plans for the time being.
However, the arrival of Meta was controversial because of, among other things, doubts about its sustainability and social benefits.


“When considering a location for a data center, our priority is a good match with the environment. In the end, we decided that building a data center in Zeewolde is not the right investment," says the American group now. “We are finalizing our development plans and we are working closely with the municipality and province to efficiently complete this project.”
The data center, which was to be the largest in the Netherlands, could still count on support from the Zeewolde city council at the end of last year. However, opponents won in the last municipal elections, so that support melted away. The opponents were concerned that the size of the data center would not suit a village like Zeewolde. The high power consumption was also a thorny issue for critics, as was the question of whether the residual heat can be used properly. Proponents pointed to extra jobs and more tax revenues.
The fact that Zeewolde previously agreed to a change in the zoning plan did not mean that construction of the data center could start in any case. For this, Meta also needed permits from the municipality and province. In addition, part of the land on which the data center would be built is owned by the Central Government Real Estate Agency. That had set sustainability requirements for its use before any sale was made.
Minister Hugo de Jonge (Spatial Planning) stated not so long ago that the conditions for a sale had not been met at that time. "Then it concerns the way in which the solar panels are applied in the design, it concerns requirements for sustainability and energy."
A spokeswoman for the company does not want to say whether Meta is looking for another location for a data center. The company also does not answer questions about what the Meta will cost now that the plans in Zeewolde are not going ahead.

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