Meta Cancels Dutch Data Center Project

Facebook owner Meta said on Tuesday that it is suspending plans to build a giant data center in the Netherlands, following political opposition.

Meta’s decision came a week after the Dutch Senate passed a motion asking Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government to ‘use its powers’ to temporarily block construction of the site in the northern town of Zeewolde, 50 km east of Amsterdam.

“Given the current circumstances, we have decided to pause our development efforts in Zeewolde,” a Meta company spokesperson said.

In December, Zeewolde had approved plans to build the largest facility of its category in the Netherlands, from which Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp would serve users across Europe.

The data center would use 1.38-gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, cover 166 hectares (410 acres) of farmland, run on green energy and create 400 permanent jobs.

However, environmental campaigners who do not want the limited supply of sustainable power generated in the Netherlands to be used by a multinational company opposed the construction of the data center. Some residents of Zeewolde said that they felt their voices “had not been heard” in the permitting process.

The Senate motion asked the government to postpone the construction until a government policy on data centers had been settled.

“After having been invited in 2019 by the local, provincial and national government to consider a data center investment in the Netherlands and Zeewolde in particular, Meta envisioned a strong partnership that would bring jobs and community benefits to the region,” the Meta company spokesperson said.

Meta left the door open to restarting the project and said it would continue to cooperate with the municipality over what to do next.

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