By Louis Brady and Marcello Filibeck
June 1st, 2022 – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte visited Groningen yesterday to discuss gas extraction and the effects of earthquakes in the region.
He finished his trip by visiting Theater de Steeg, where he talked to young people involved in the production of Barst?!, a film project about growing up in fear of earthquakes.
The Groningen gas field was discovered in 1959. Extraction of gas from the fields has triggered earthquakes in the province. Since 1986, over a thousand earthquakes have been recorded, the largest being 3.6 on the Richter scale in 2012.
Homeowners in the earthquake zone were able to apply for a €10,000 subsidy for house improvements in January 2022. The money ran out in one day. So far, 166 people have also received a total of €476,000 in ‘immaterial damages’ for effects on their physical and psychological health problems and quality of life.
This was Rutte’s seventh visit to Groningen since 2017. Despite some calls to extract additional gas in Groningen in light of the halting of Russian gas imports, Rutte has said this will not happen.