For data centers in the Netherlands, 2020 is a year with quite some challenges, according to a study commissioned by the Dutch Datacenter Association and conducted by Pb7 Research. While demand for data center colocation space in the Netherlands continues to be strong, robust growth figures are no longer obvious in the Dutch market.

The data center market growth in general in the Netherlands will stay healthy, according to Pb7 Research, but the growth figures will be somewhat more moderate compared to the last four years. Dutch data center operators tend to be very optimistic about their growth perspectives. The Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (MRA) still continues to outperform the other regions in the Netherlands in terms of growth, but the market growth in the MRA is slowing down significantly. 19% of respondents in the MRA anticipate strong growth this year, compared to 52% (!) last year.

To some extent, this growth figure has been hampered by the data center construction pause the MRA, in Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer, stated Pb7 Research, although most of the effects of this construction pause are yet to be materialized.

‘Only Green Data centers are Welcome’

This week, the Haarlemmermeer Board has announced to agree to the main points of the new Haarlemmermeer data center policy. In this policy, the commission specifically designates a number of business parks as areas where data centers can establish and expand. All other business parks and lands such as rural areas or residential areas are excluded. In addition, the municipality is committed to moderate growth and concentration of data centers until 2030. After 2030, there will no longer be space available in the municipality for data centers. Until now, the municipality lacked tools to determine where data centers are allowed to locate. With this data center policy, the municipality keeps a grip on the construction of data centers.

“Given the economic importance and the growth ambition of the sector, this policy is urgently needed,” said Haarlemmermeer Alderman, Marja Ruigrok (Economic Affairs and Innovation). “Because the college considers spatial quality of great importance, we have included strict conditions for the establishment of data centers in our municipality. Only the most innovative, sustainable and green data centers are welcome.”

New Data Center hotspots

With the endorsement of the Haarlemmermeer Board, a six-week consultation period begins. After these six weeks, the updated version of the policy will be submitted to the Haarlemmermeer council. After the summer, the council will “hopefully” give its final approval to the new policy.

On top of the data center construction pause in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, getting access to power continues to be a challenge in the MRA, according to Pb7 Research. Key challenge for this region is that the power grid is running out of capacity, while there’s no easy nor a quick fix to address this. Other challenges in the MRA include complying with strict local regulation and keeping track of national and European legislation. These compliance challenges are further aggravated compared to last year’s study, which can be traced back to the municipalities of Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer announcing this moratorium on new building permits for data centers. Pb7 Research and the Dutch Datacenter Association anticipate these issues in the MRA will lead to the emergence of one or more new data center hotspots in the Netherlands.