A number of you will have found voting forms on your doormats recently. One might be to vote in the forthcoming European Parliament Elections, the other allows you to vote in a referendum on Amsterdam’s ‘hoofdgroenstructuur’, or green space policy. Voting on both takes place tomorrow – on Thursday 6th June 2024.

If the city’s hoofdgroenstructuur is a new concept for you, as it was for me, please read on, because I’ve done some digging about what it means for Amsterdam and its residents, so that you can cast your votes with some background knowledge and, hopefully, confidence!

As we are all witnessing, Amsterdam continues to grow as more people move to the city, requiring homes and other amenities. The Amsterdam Gemeente has produced the Amsterdam Environmental Vision 2050 (‘2050 Vision’), with a view to ensuring that the city’s green areas continue to be strengthened and protected as the city grows. This recognises that greenery is important for residents’ mental and physical health and recreation, as well as for nature, biodiversity, flood prevention and city cooling.

A number of Amsterdam residents have collected more than 11,000 signatures, objecting to certain elements of the 2050 Vision, and these are enough to trigger a public referendum on it, asking residents whether they are for or against the hoofdgroenstructuur. This is an advisory referendum, and its result is non-binding, but it will provide the Gemeente with a feeling for the public mood surrounding its proposals.


You can read more about the reasons to vote against the hoofdgroenstructuur via this link: https://rhgs.nl


You can read more about the reasons to vote for the hoofdgroenstructuur via this link:


Rather counterintuitively, the main reasons cited for voting against the hoofdgroenstructuur is that its green protections don’t go far enough and nor are they binding by law. Instead, those fighting against the Gemeente’s plans want to see further consultation with residents that result in stronger protections for the city’s green places.


Happy voting to you all tomorrow!

Penny Vegter

Married to a Dutchman, Penny Vegter is English and has lived in Amsterdam on and off for 22 years. Their two half-Dutch children have now (sob!) flown the nest, but continue to ask for cash handouts from far away. Formerly a lawyer, Penny has recently gained a Master’s in Forestry and is hoping to partly save the world by planting more trees. A creative writer by soul, she has also worked in journalism, editing and copywriting.