Milieudefensie and Others v the State: Will the Dutch State Be Ordered to Reduce Air Pollution?

By Mirjam Beeftink, University of Groningen, m.l.beeftink(at)

At the time of writing there is a remarkable case pending in the Netherlands concerning the effects of air pollution on the health of the population. Two foundations and 57 individual plaintiffs have launched a case against the Dutch State in which they ask the court to order the State to reduce air pollution below the European maxima to the norms set in the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on air quality. If the case is successful, this will have significant consequences for the government as it will be ordered to protect the health of its citizens in a more effective manner by improving air quality. What are the chances of the plaintiffs succeeding in winning the case?

Continue reading


Energy poverty, climate change, and the right to health: international obligations to cooperate for clean cook stoves?

By Marlies Hesselman, University of Groningen,

Yesterday, a main Dutch news paper, the NRC, reported that 13 Dutch big and small development organizations and private companies, united in the ‘Dutch Approach for Clean Cooking Solutions’, have asked for or support that the Dutch government continue to sponsor clean cooking stove alternatives in developing countries, partially because the effects for climate change would be positive. The letter by StichtingHIER Klimaatbureau can be found here. This post reflects on another dimension of this debate. Namely, are clean cook stoves are a human right to health concern as well? Why might combatting ‘energy poverty’ in other countries be a matter of international human rights obligations for the Dutch State? What is the role of these 13 NGOs and private companies?

Continue reading