11 September 2023, by Victoria Séveno

According to research conducted by RTL Nieuws, a quarter of people in the Netherlands have taken the decision to fly less or not at all in order to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Flight shame in the Netherlands

The term flight shame, or vliegschamte in Dutch, has become a bit of a buzzword over the last few years, as members of the public attempt to lead more sustainable lifestyles and seek out more environmentally friendly transportation alternatives to flying

A survey conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) back in 2021 found that 42 percent of people in the Netherlands were willing to forego taking a plane in order to reduce their carbon footprint. A few years on, however, a survey carried out by RTL Nieuws found that few people have actually taken the step and switched from flying to other forms of transportation

According to data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Dutch aviation industry emitted almost 8 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide in 2021 – significantly lower than the nearly 14 billion kilograms of emissions in 2019. RTL Nieuws explains that this figure equalled around 9 percent of the Netherlands’ total emissions in 2019.

Most Dutch travellers still prefer to fly

Of the 18.000 respondents who took part in the survey, 3 percent said they did not fly at all out of concern for the effect of the aviation industry on the environment. 23 percent said they made an effort to fly less, while 73 percent said concerns about climate change had no impact on their travel habits.

One respondent, Ronald, said he hadn’t flown since 2009: “I will never do [it] again. We only have one planet and we have to be careful with it. We demolish things out of self-interest. A holiday by plane is not a right. It is a luxury.” Meanwhile, 68 percent of respondents said they harboured little or no guilt about flying. 

“Unfortunately, the prices of train tickets are often much higher than airline tickets, which is why we choose to fly,” one respondent said, while another argued, “as long as entire tribes of rich people fly around the world in their private jets, I don’t feel [the need] to think about a more sustainable way of travelling.”

Thumb image credit: verzellenberg / Shutterstock.com.

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