Each year, RIVM conducts a study into how people experience their living environment. It investigates severe annoyance or sleep disturbance caused by such factors as noise or vibrations. The study also covers odour annoyance and concerns about air quality. Our study shows that the main sources of noise annoyance and sleep disturbance in 2022 were road traffic and neighbours – the same as before. Compared to 2020, annoyance from business activities and rail traffic had increased.  

Key findings

In 2022, people remained particularly affected by sources close to their home, such as road traffic, neighbours and construction and demolition activities. 

Noise: road traffic and neighbours 
In terms of noise and vibrations, road traffic and neighbours continued to be the main sources of annoyance and sleep disturbance, both during the day and at night. People were particularly affected by road traffic (up to 50 km/h) in built-up areas. 

Odour: wood burning  
As far as odour annoyance is concerned, wood burning was the main source in 2022. Wood is burned particularly in fireplaces and multi-fuel stoves (indoors) and BBQs and fire baskets (outdoors). In 2020 and 2021, neighbours were the main source of odour annoyance. 

Concerns: air quality 
The main cause of concern remained ‘living in the vicinity of a high-risk enterprise or industry’. Since 2019, concerns about air quality mainly relate to the air quality around the home. 

Reason for this study 

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W) wants to know how residents throughout the Netherlands experience their living environment. It has commissioned investigations in this area since 1977. Since 2003, these have been carried out by RIVM. Among other things, the study maps out how residents experience noise, vibrations, odour and safety in the home environment. This study has been conducted annually since 2019. RIVM conducted this study in partnership with Statistics Netherlands (CBS).