Ronald Weilers: “My hope is that the data we collect will eventually have legal value, so that we as a population can influence not only industry, but also the government.”
‘Hollandse Luchten’ (Dutch Skies) is a citizens’ platform for measuring air quality in North Holland. Ronald Weilers, a resident of IJmuiden, decided to participate in order to gain better insight into the quality of air in his neighbourhood. “My hope is that the data we collect will eventually have legal value, so that we as a population can influence not only industry, but also the government.”
‘Hollandse Luchten’ was set up by Waag as part of a wider study into citizen sensing, the collection of data about the living environment by citizens. In IJmuiden, Zaandam and Amsterdam North, dozens of citizens have installed simple sensors that continuously transmit data. An interactive map on the website shows current data at all times.
“By making citizens co-owners of the data, you get much more constructive discussions between residents and policy makers,” says Judith Veenkamp of Waag. “We organise sessions in which they analyse the data together. Residents often have much more local expertise than the province or the Public Health Service of municipalities and know, for example, the sources of peaks in air pollution.”