Why are Dutch Farmers Protesting?

By James Patrick, Film Director

NITROGEN 2000: The Dutch Farmers’ Battle to Keep Their Land

A 30 minute film will be released November by BigPicture.Watch detailing what is truly going on with the push to eliminate Dutch cattle farmers. This article is authored by the director of the film James Patrick.

The culture of Holland has been tied directly to its long history of proud dairy farmers, but new policies aim to eliminate these farmers’ way of life. Nitrogen pollution is the key reason politicians cite for eliminating farmland in Holland, leaving Dutch farmers with nowhere to turn. Over 50% of farmers will be out of business by the summer of 2023. The Dutch government has declared war on its own culture.

As I drove through Holland, a country smaller than West Virginia with nearly ten times its population, I noticed a common image, a call for help. Flying high in markets, businesses, town squares, and outside citizens’ homes were the upside down flags of the Dutch nation: a sign of distress. This symbol is rooted in maritime code, when a vessel is in distress it flies its national flag upside down. It feels symbolic of the way the government is operating as well: against the interests of the people, using backwards logic for personal gain, flipping the order of things on its head. Every third farm in the Dutch countryside has piled up hay-bales and spray-painted signs saying “Land for Sale” and “Help”. Half a dozen farmers have already committed suicide over these new policies which has utterly destoryed their way of life for themselves and their children.

To get to the bottom of the story, I decided to investigate myself. I ventured to Holland to meet with leaders from two of the most influential farmers’ groups fighting for their livelihoods, two members of Dutch Parliament on opposing sides of the issue, and a top government scientist who is critical of the computer generated models being used to justify these policies that are stripping farmers of their jobs. I have also spoken with the victims of this new policy, the farmers who are on the brink of losing everything.

Through my journeys I have discovered that over the last 30 years there has been a creeping government plan involving Nitrogen regulations which is now being weaponized to reshape the Dutch landscape and disenfranchise family farms that have been thriving for upwards of 15 generations. One particular political party in Holland named D66 is the strongest supporter of these new anti-farmer policies. D66 is a consortium of NGOs run by shady interest groups, the media, and state administrators of a €25 billion fund called the Agricultural Transition Fund which aims to buyout farmers’ land.

By July 2023, upwards of 50% of dairy and livestock farmers in Holland will be thrust into bankruptcy, and not one media outlet, mainstream or otherwise, is taking any consideration in dissecting this purposefully complex story.

Farmers built on generations of hard work, family, and love for their craft are now being told there is no longer a place for them. You might ask why the Dutch government is so dead set on destroying the most iconic sector of their country? It’s all because of Nitrogen, we are told. Nitrogen, a gas that makes up 78% of the atmosphere and in another form, ammonia, is the most common element of modern fertilizer. The government claims that Nitrogen is harming the soil, the same Nitrogen that is used to make plants grow. They claim that if the Nitrogen levels are too high, a handful of 10 common plants native to the region (such as orchids) will receive less sunlight due to the overgrowth of nettles and trees, thus hurting the biodiversity of the region. But why should the government dictate what grows and what doesn’t? Shouldn’t that be up to mother nature herself? Why cultivate 10 specific plants and not the thousand others that would grow naturally in the area? If nature were left to its own devices the forests would grow back, returning nature to an era before humans, but these laws would prohibit that. This puts owners of land in a precarious position, dealing with meticulous and difficult Nitrogen measuring agents directed by a “Minister of Nitrogen” in a dystopian Kafkaesque sick joke where nothing is good enough for the unseen master of the land.

In the early 1990s the EU set up the environmental preservation program “Nature 2000”, with a name more suited to a 1970s B-movie than a government program. “Nature 2000” designated 18% of the EU nations as “Nature 2000” areas that cannot be disturbed in any way, including re-wilding back to forests. In most EU countries these Nature 2000 areas are concentrated in large forested areas. But Holland, being one of the most developed regions in western Europe, hasn’t had forests for centuries.The preserved Nature 2000 areas in Holland are scattered across 160 tiny plots of mostly private farmland. This significantly undermines the property ownership rights of these farmers as well as all adjacent farms, as they now fall under severe regulatory scrutiny.

I decided to look into the NGOs lurking in the background, pushing and guiding the nitrogen and biodiversity policies decided by the government. I discovered that these NGOs were run by executives from Big Tech, Chevron, and a powerful Dutch banking family. I also heard from local farmers that once they are bankrupted from these new regulations and have their land purchased at lower prices by the government, the very same NGOs will be assigned to be the custodians of the land. So the way this scam goes is this: corrupt corporations get taxpayers to pay for the land via the €25 billion Agricultural Transition Fund, allowing them to seize the land from the farmers without paying a dime!

The dystopian Dutch government has set its upper limits of allowable Nitrogen on Nature 2000 areas 200 times lower than Denmark and 100 lower than neighboring Germany. As a result many farmers are moving their operations to these countries and further in eastern Europe. 

The Dutch governments, to justify their claims that Nitrogen is pollution and should be reduced on Nature 2000 areas, used a computer model called AERIUS. This computer model has come under criticism by a preeminent government scientist named Professor Han Lindeboom, Professor Emeritus of the Wageningen University Marine Research Center. While he agrees that Nitrogen can be considered an environmental problem, he criticizes the model used by the government, describing them as hopelessly flawed and the unjust basis of their attack on the farmers.

In this exclusive 30 minute film, we get to the bottom of the story. 

Other questions looming in this story are the following:

Why is the Dutch government pushing a policy that will drive up food prices at a time when food shortages world wide are affecting us all? What does this mean for the future of our food supply? We were able to speak with one of the primary advocates for these new Nitrogen policies, MP Tjeerd de Groot. He told us that the prices of food are too low and need to rise. Is that so or does this statement just support the goals of the policy he is advocating? What do the people think? After decades of advocating “Food Security,” why is the Dutch government now advocating a policy that purposely makes Holland completely dependent on foreign food production?

Another piece of the corrupt puzzle is the new TriState City project which aims to treat Holland and parts of Belgium and Germany as one megacity. The development initiative is backed by the Dutch employers organization VNO-NCW, property developers, pension funds, and Utrecht’s economic board and advocates. This project will turn the region into a “sustainable urban powerhouse.” Essentially it’s a regional development initiative that will surely make use of some of the land freed up once the farmers are gone. Conveniently the government’s strict nitrogen regulations don’t treat the Nitrogen produced by urban development as they do the Nitrogen produced by the farmers.

With increasing talk of Nitrogen regulation in Canada and cow flatulence being declared pollution throughout the world, this strategy of using common environmental gases and elements as a scare tactic to achieve economic and political control over the people is on the rise. We must be vigilant and skeptical of these arguments. What is happening in Holland now will spread to the rest of the world if not stopped. It’s a dire story that no one will be able to ignore soon enough and everyone must understand. 

Let’s keep Holland the last battleground and prevent this from spreading throughout the world!

Watch NITROGEN 2000 to find out the answers to these questions and more in one of the most important stories of our time. Food production, re-wilding private land, and questionable environmental policies are being used to remove generations-old farmers from their land in a David vs. Goliath power struggle. The time to fight is NOW!

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