Those living in and around Amsterdam should brace themselves for notably higher municipal taxes next year, with the local water board (waterschap) announcing earlier this month that water taxes will rise by an average of 35 percent in 2024.
Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Board raising taxes in 2024
At the beginning of July the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Board – which is responsible for water management in an area spanning across the provinces of North Holland and Utrecht, and includes areas such as Hilversum, Aalsmer and, of course, Amsterdam – announced that it intends to raise the waterschapbelasting (“water board tax”) by an average of 35 percent in 2024.
While a final decision on the new tax rates will only be made in the autumn, the chance that residents in the area will face notably higher bills in the new year is high. If the increases go ahead as planned, a family who owns their own home will see their costs rise from around 375 euros to almost 510 euros a year.
Those living in rented accommodation will also be affected; a couple living in a rental property will see their annual tax rate rise from 324 euros to around 435 euros, while a single person will pay almost 270 euros to the waterboard in 2024.
Households in Amsterdam to face significantly higher taxes
The Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Board explains these price hikes are “significant but unavoidable”, and are the result of a number of factors, including higher operating costs and inflation. The planned increases are also a consequence of various issues at the waterboard, including dwindling financial reserves, IT issues, and mistakes and delays when it comes to tax collection.
“We understand that this is bad news for all residents and businesses in our area,” board director Simon Deurloo said in a statement. “The honest story is that the rates have been too low so far and that budgets are too tight as a result…The increase is necessary to continue to live here safely, with sufficient water and enough clean water. This is becoming an increasing challenge, partly due to climate change.”
Climate change a growing issue for Dutch water boards
Dutch water boards have a number of key responsibilities which, as the name suggests, relate to water management across the Netherlands. These include managing the country’s polders, dikes, and other waterworks
In a statement on its website, the Amstel, Gooi and Vecht Water Board explains that more funds are needed as the area is largely located in polders well below sea level. The board, therefore, needs to “ensure that our dikes continue to protect us now that the sea level is rising.”
Climate change also presents a growing issue: “We need to make more of an effort to reduce pollution and improve the water quality in our rivers and ditches. And we are increasingly dealing with periods of drought. This all entails extra work and extra costs.”
Thumb: Dutchmen Photography via Shutterstock.com.