Friday 19 June 2015, saw the start of the national action “Steenbreek” (Breakstone). Mr Joris Wijsmuller, chairman of the urban planning and sustainability executive, and the ‘Climate Rescue Unit’ lifted the first paving stone near the tram track at Turfmarkt. This act was part of the artistic performance ‘ONTTEGEL!’ (away with the paving stone). After the performance spectators could swop a paving tile or stone for a plant.

Research has proved that The Hague has the warmest city centre of The Netherlands! This may seem pleasant, but it isn’t, especially not for the health of children and elderly people. The formation of this “urban heat island” can easily be prevented by removing pavement in order to make the city greener. The ‘Haags Milieucentrum’ (Operation Breakstone), the Municipality of The Hague and the Laboratory for Micro Climates (project ‘ONTTEGEL!’) cooperate in bringing the possibility to remove  pavement to the attention of the citizens of The Hague, sothat they can improve their own environment and thereby the climate in the city.

‘ONTTEGEL’ demonstrates how this is done and visites, together with the ‘Climate Rescue Unit’, prominent sites in town, bringing  special tools and water supply, and will remove pavement in order to create micro climates and (water)gardens. After that ‘Steenbreek’, together with the Tuinbrigade (garden brigade) and Tuinambassadeurs (garden ambassadors) will help residents to de-pave in their own gardens and in their neighbourhood.

5  June 2015, Derk Hazekamp  (MM)