RIVM expects the air quality to be poor or very poor for a brief period over Easter, particularly in areas where Easter fires are lit. This is because the burning of wood leads to high local concentrations of particulate matter in the air. These high concentrations may cause health problems. People affected by these problems are advised to avoid strenuous physical activity.
As a result of Easter fires that are traditionally lit in Germany in the days leading up to Easter, the air quality may already worsen in the course of that period. On Easter Sunday and Monday, Easter fires will be lit in the Netherlands as well. The ensuing smoke, dust and smell may cause a nuisance. RIVM expects that the effects of nuisance caused by high concentrations of particulate matter in the air will be felt in large parts of the Netherlands. The extent to which people are affected by this depends on such factors as wind direction, wind speed and the distance from the Easter fire.
When combined with other airborne contaminants, high concentrations of particulate matter in the air resulting from the burning of wood can lead to reduced lung function. This may worsen the symptoms of illnesses like asthma. It may also lead to an increase in respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. People with lung diseases like asthma and COPD or those with cardiovascular disease (particularly the elderly) may be most affected. They can avoid or reduce the effect of symptoms by staying indoors and avoiding strenuous physical activity during the period when Easter fires are lit. Some people may benefit from adjustments to their medication. Adjustments must always be made in consultation with a doctor.
Check the air quality
The website Luchtmeetnet.nl shows the air quality in all areas of the Netherlands. This is based on monitoring data gathered from a number of government agencies. The website is an initiative of RIVM, the Public Health Service of Amsterdam, DCMR Environmental Protection Agency Rijnmond, the province of Limburg, the Central and West Brabant Environmental Service and the Regional Environmental Service Arnhem.
This Easter, people throughout the Netherlands will once again measure the air quality where they live and share their measurements on the data portal Samen Meten (Measure Together). Thanks to their large number and their location all over the country, the measuring points provide a useful complementary picture of the air quality over the Netherlands.
- Visit Luchtmeetnet.nl and NOS Teletekst page 711 for up-to-date information about air quality and smog.
- Read more about smog on the RIVM website (in Dutch).
- Contact your GP or Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) if you experience symptoms.
- Read more about lung diseases and air pollution on the website of the Longfonds, the interest group for Dutch lung disease patients.