back to article Meta's plans to build hyperscale DC in Netherlands on hold

Meta's plans to build a 166-hectare 200MW datacenter in the Netherlands' central Flevoland province have been put on hold. an island full of tulips in Zeewolde flevoland. with a sunrise in the background. An island full of tulips in Zeewolde, Flevoland Last week, the Dutch Senate voted to make it impossible to implement the …

  1. Korev Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Some might view the construction of this particular DC in the Netherlands as a way of dealing with the increasingly thorny issue of data sovereignty, meaning the information on Facebook's European visitors would be kept in Europe. However, with the US seemingly supporting stateside storage of EU citizens' data, Meta might be less worried about pumping the brakes.

    A future change of American government could probably change this in an instant.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      I lived in NL for 23 years, and in that time, I learned that the opinion of the Dutch public can pack a mean punch...

    2. Stoneshop

      A future change of American government could probably change this in an instant.

      The ultimate arbiter of where EU citizen's data is, or is not, to be stored is not the US government, however much they would like that to be so.

      Vide Schrems.

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Who *is* the ultimate arbiter then?

        Is the ultimate arbiter “the EU”? Or is it national governments?

        If it is “the EU”, is it the Commission or is it MEPs? VdLeyen is fronting all these statements - does she indeed have the power to choose? She has negotiated a deal with the US President, who is a Head of State. Is she a Head of State?

        For example, even if you believe that the European Parliament rules the Commission, if the MEPs voted to have a “Freedom of Information” across European borders, and Scholz government decided that “German information is for Germans”….who wins? These are different people, with different electorates. Who decides the limits of “Subsidiaritätsprinzip”? Read the treaty for yourself, and see whether the constitutional lines are aligned with what is now being decided by the Commission.

        These are very basic questions. Everyone should be able to answer them.

  2. Justthefacts Silver badge


    24th March: EU Digital Markets Act specifically names and targets Facebook with measures to fine it 10% of global revenue unless it changes business model

    30th March am: Germany activates emergency fuel plan to ration industrial usage of gas

    30th March pm: Facebook pulls out of a 200MW billion-dollar investment in Netherlands.

    If you hate Facebook, you will be happy and think this is a job well done. But pretending it isn’t a direct consequence is just silly. “Oooh, we didn’t want your billion dollar investment anyway” says town council. If this is *really* about the local environmental issue, Facebook will just pick somewhere else in EU. Let’s see, shall we.

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Re: Timing….

      The article actually mentions that Livable Zeewolde now has a majority in the city council.

      One of thee major issues they ran on was stopping this DC from being built.

      So yes, Meta's money is no good in Zeewolde and the Zuck can f-off.

      1. NATTtrash

        Re: Timing….

        "One of thee major issues they ran on was stopping this DC from being built.

        "Meta's money is no good in Zeewolde and the Zuck can f-off."

        Well, it looks more that Zucks money was well received in Zeewolde, but that central government got a bit uneasy about it. Dutch press has been reporting on this issue for quite some time, going a couple of years back. A rather "embarrassing" issue there was/ is that there were indications that (local) dignitaries were very positive to the DC coming their way due to "various convincing reasons", and central government trying to stop it. The latter was rather difficult though, since the Dutch governing structure and law gives local council significant free reign there. Continuous point of dispute is the cost/ gain discussion, where the local dignitaries at that time presented "independent research" that turned out to come straight out of the FB offices. In the end, as is in the El Reg piece, local elections removed the local council who was in favour, thus barring the plans further.

        Google had a similar plans for 3 large DCs in the Netherlands, was also "facilitated" massively by local council where they wanted to go, but in the end backed out due to "unknown reasons". Both cases show a very interesting picture of "good" Dutch politics.

        [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [local lingo, translate add on used]

        1. Stoneshop

          Re: Timing….

          Well, it looks more that Zucks money was well received in Zeewolde

          It was well-received by a couple of lobbyists and through them by the previous council, whose political signature was radically altered two weeks ago quite because of the rather underhanded way the datacenter was 'invited' (and only later found to be Metafeck's).

          There's also the matter that the DC's power requirements would make meeting the government's green energy targets not just a little harder, so the current government is looking for ways to use that as one of the reasons to deny the final planning permission. On top of that, half the area the DC would be built on is owned by a govenment department whose conditions for environmental impact are pretty hard to meet if it's to be used for a DC.

          And anyway, how much money would a DC bring in for a local council? It's not a bunch of local white van men doing the construction, there's no local computer shop furnishing the hardware, and once it's operating there'll be just a few warm bodies carting broken stuff out and replacing it with unbroken made to spec for Meta stuff shipped in from elsewhere, probably China.

      2. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Timing….

        Why are you so angry?

        FAANG are now cancelling their DC investments in the EU, following the EU announcement. That also happens to meet this elected town council agenda. So everybody is happy. This is part of a continued set of anti-US tech giant legislation. It has the consequences that it is *designed* to have.

        Soon EU citizens will instead be able to use very safe EU-approved social media platform, with lots of privacy guards. Privacy will be defined as: stored on an EU-located DC, where not even national governments will have access to the data.To fully ensure the data integrity, a small extra-national enclave of land will be defined over which no national government has jurisdiction, only the EU - similar to Vatican. The organisation that runs it will be an NGO .org, staffed by employees who will need the equivalent of a CRB check (administered by EU Commission). The code will be fully open source, which will mean that any EU citizen can request to see the source code, which will be provided by FTP of the line-numbers you request, but write privileges are reserved for approved CRB-checked citizens of course.

        There will be no advertising on the Social Platform, but it will include many public service announcements such as the local amenities that the Commission are building. You will be kept safe on the platform, as everyone will have an EU-wide cryptographically ensured identity.

        At some later time, all EU services will be upgraded to be hosted on the new platform, such as social security, tax.

        1. EnviableOne

          Re: Timing….

          Ask the Estonians how well the national digital id went.

          and they are the furthest down this road.

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