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From tunnel vision towards an open view. Lessons from the North/South metro line on compensation of damages

An article by Georgina Kuipers has been published this month in Dutch journal Overheid & Aansprakelijkheid (Government and Accountability). It deals with policy introduced in response to damage caused by the construction of the Amsterdam North/South metro line and its aim to rebuild trust. The title of the article is ‘Van tunnelvisie naar open blik. De schadevergoedingslessen van de Noord/Zuidlijn’.

Kuipers is a PhD candidate at the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law of Leiden Law School. Her research examines the policy on damages introduced by Amsterdam city council in response to issues concerning the construction of the metro line from the north to the south of Amsterdam (known as the North/South line). This problem-plagued project caused much damage for residents in the city – expected and also unexpected. After much criticism and an absolute low point when buildings on the Vijzelgracht were damaged due to subsidence, the city asked for advice from the independent Veerman Committee. Upon its recommendations, the city changed tack and a pattern emerged of compensation which went beyond what was required by law, with intensive and personal contact between the authorities and injured parties, and a fast and effective settlement of claims. In this way, the city council succeeded in turning the tide and achieving settlement of compensation which citizens were satisfied with. This makes the North/South Line an interesting case from which public authorities can learn when settling damages claims in comparable public projects.

The article (in Dutch) is available here.

The article is an abbreviated version of one of the three case chapters from Kuipers’ interdisciplinary PhD thesis on policy in relation to damages that aims to build trust. She is currently in the process of finalising her thesis and hopes to defend it in autumn 2021.

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