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The Golden Shovel went to The Hague, Source: nk-tegelwippen.nl

The Hague replaced 200,000 tiles with greenery

The Hague replaced 200,000 tiles with greenery

In The Netherlands, this takes the form of a competition

The Hague scored highest in the National Tegelwippen championship, as informed today. As TheMayor.EU reported earlier, the competition ran from 30 March to 30 September, with the aim to replace concrete tiles with greenery. During the campaign, The Hague managed to remove as many as 200,000 tiles and make way for flowers and plants.

Making our cities green is a team effort

Tegelwippen is a team competition between different cities that took place for a second year. To become part of a city team, one needed to register online and record themselves removing tiles.

It was reported that this time as many as 40 municipalities took part, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Those residents whose municipality did not participate can still contribute to the National Tile Counter. Other than increased green areas, the winning team is awarded a Golden Shovel. Organisers report that a total of over 1.5 million tiles have been removed so far which makes for 140,000 m2 more green spaces created.

This year, The Hague removed a total of 201,334 tiles, the highest result per municipality. Amsterdam came up second with 170,245, while Enschede is third with 134,379.

The feat is the result of the joint efforts of many local players – city authorities, businesses, citizens. However, in terms of leadership at the local level, Aldermen Liesbeth van Tongeren and Hilbert Bredemeijer (education, sports and outdoor space) are the driving force behind the campaign.

Ms van Tongeren, quoted on the city website, had this to comment on the importance of the initiative: “It seems like a small gesture to remove a few tiles and replace them with greenery, but this really helps to make our city greener, more climate-proof and more beautiful.” Mr Bredemeijer, on his part, added that they will continue to make The Hague greener, by distributing 1,400 trees to residents in November.

Moreover, although the competitive part of Tegelwippen is limited in time, it is possible to remove tiles all year round in the city. Municipal stakeholders acting in the field of sustainable development support residents and companies that want to de-tile their properties and offer them to return tiles in exchange for a plant.

Concurrently, the competition also puts the emphasis on tiles per inhabitant, thereby accounting for the size of the municipality. Here, Rucphen, Enschede and Oosterhout took the first three spots with 989,77, 841,27 and 700,09 tiles per inhabitant, respectively.

Replacing tiles with greenery helps to reduce waterlogging, provides coolness in times of heat and helps soil to retain water during a drought. It increases the living space for plants and animals and thus contributes to biodiversity. Moreover, a proximate green living environment is beneficial for our mental health.

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