Photo: Farmer protests in the Netherlands. © Frank Magdelyns, 22nd June 2022
Dutch farmers organized massive protests last year, but not this year. Fact-checkers from the Netherlands told Truthmeter that protests were organized in 2023, but none could be compared to the huge protests and unrest in 2022. Dutch farmers do not protest because the Government wants to dislocate them for the purpose of building homes for immigrants housing, but because of Government’s policies to reduce nitrogen pollution. The photograph from the post is old, related to a protest that took place in July last year and was not connected to seizing farms to accommodate immigrants, as claimed by this Facebook post, writes Truthmeter.mk.
Under the content-sharing agreement between Truthmeter.mk and Meta.mk, we republish the text below:
While discontent continues spreading throughout #France, massive protests are unfolding in the Netherlands as well. Dutch Prime Minister Rutte received instructions from Klaus Schwab, German chairperson of the World Economic Forum and the self-proclaimed leader of the New World Order, to seize 3000 privately owned farms and to evict the farmers from their homes although they owned them and have been living there for generations.
The reason for that was to use the land for accommodating immigrants because they had additional plans for more massive migration.
Many young farmers were driven to suicide, claims the post we are fact-checking.
The post is accompanied by a photograph from a farmer’s protest that supposedly depicts the current events referred to in the text of the post. This photograph, however, is old, related to a protest that happened in July last year and is not connected with any kind of farm seizure to accommodate immigrants, as the post claims. The protests from the photograph were due to the environmental plans of the Government and the laws to reduce nitrogen pollution. Due to the fact that far-reaching measures were concerned, some of the farmers – as reported by Deutsche Welle – could find themselves facing a ultimatum, either to implement them or to sell their farms. But whatever the choice of the farmers, the Dutch authorities have secured a fund in the amount of €25 billion exactly for that purpose.
For the purpose of checking the claims made in the post, Truthmeter contacted Dutch fact-checkers. Marieke Kuypers from the fact-checking site nieuwscheckers-nl stressed that the claims specified in the post seem to be based on the farmers’ protests that happened last year.
There were some protests this year, but none can be compared to the huge protests and unrest from last year, Kuypers says.
She pointed out several links from posts on Dutch sites so that we can debunk the claims made by the post.
It is not true that Dutch farmers were forced to give up their farms to accommodate immigrants, reported Dutch sites back in June 2022.
As specified by dekanttekening-nl, such untrue claims were spread in a show of the channel Ongehoord Nieuws.
For that reason, the Dutch Foundation for Public Broadcasting (public broadcasting organization managing public broadcasting services in the Netherlands – NPO) declared that it will impose sanctions upon broadcaster Ongehoord Nieuws, for violating the Journalist Code and allowing the guests to give unsubstantiated statements with no answers.
Regarding the claim that the Dutch Government is demanding the farmers’ agricultural land for building homes for housing, the site Nos-nl stresses that livestock farms, that might need to be closed down due to the national nitrogen plans, are located near the nature reserves.
It is virtually impossible for housing to replace farming, the province has announced, reported nos-nl. The main reason: new homes are built where it makes sense, close to other residential areas and facilities. The nitrogen problem is therefore not secretly used to purchase farmland for housing.
Of more than 55,000 farmers in the Netherlands, about 20,000 keep pigs, cows, and poultry.
The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has calculated that the cabinet’s plan will ultimately reduce livestock by 30 percent. That says nothing about the number of farmers. Because the focus is on less intensive livestock farming with fewer animals per farm, the number of farmers does not have to decrease by 30 percent, adds the article of Nos-nl.
At the end, the site concludes that ”farmland near nature reserves can be better used than for housing: for less intensive livestock farming and for nature”.
Regarding the claim about suicides of farmers, it is true that they exist, but there is no evidence that links them to governmental policies, explain Dutch fact-checkers specifying numbers and statistics related to suicides of farmers in the last eight years.
In 2020, the number of suicides among farmers was considerably higher than in the previous seven years, concludes the Dutch fact-checking site Nieuwscheckers-nl. According to some claims, this increase is due to the Dutch agricultural policy. However, a causal relationship has never been proven.
Between 2013 and 2021, about 20 farmers committed suicide each year. The year 2020 was an exception with 30 suicides.
For both current and future figures, it is important to keep an eye on the fact that the number of suicides (fortunately) does not increase by hundreds per year. The peak of 2020 was 30 suicides. In that year a total of 192,000 people were employed in the agricultural sector.
Thirty suicides is a lot, but not in percentage terms, reports Nieuwscheckers-nl.
Many studies show that quite frequently farmers in the Western countries suffer from depression or anxiety. The reasons are comparable with those mentioned in the Netherlands: financial insecurity, long working days, and dependence on governmental policies.
Another less frequently stated reason is exposure to pesticides. A meta-study suggests that pesticide exposure or poisoning increases the risk of depression and suicide. In addition, the study stresses that a relatively small amount of data is still available and hence, new research is required.
The only research from the Netherlands was conducted among farmers in the Ijsselland region. Here, “high pressure from changing laws and regulations” is mentioned as one of the causes of psychosocial problems. The research is based on interviews with only 16 farmers, who were not randomly selected. Whether Dutch government policy specifically contributes to the number of suicides is, therefore, not certain on this basis either, reports Nieuwscheckers-nl.
All of the above-noted leads to the conclusion that massive protests of the Dutch farmers happened last year, but not this year. In 2023, some protests were organized, but none could be compared with the huge protests and unrest in 2022. The farmers in the Netherlands are not protesting because the Government wants to dislocate them to build homes for immigrants housing, but due to the governmental policies on nitrogen pollution. Suicides of Dutch farmers cannot be connected to the Dutch agricultural policy. Therefore, the post fact-checked is assessed as untrue.