What are the effects of heat waves on our society?

Thermo: heat

Another climate protest took place last Saturday. While we try to prevent further global warming, the Dutch summers are already getting hotter. Since 1923, the KNMI(The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute)  measured 28 heat waves and almost half them occurred in the past 20 years. If this trend continues, the number of 'tropical' days (days above 30 degrees) will have doubled by 2050. The KNMI measures the temperature of the outdoor space. These measurements provide a clear picture of how heat spreads during warm summers. Heat is not evenly distributed across the Netherlands: cities are warmer than rural areas. But how heat develops indoors is still a blind spot.


In the project Thermo-staat, residents throughout the Netherlands join forces with scientists from TU Delft and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, investigative journalists from VPRO and experts from Waag Futurelab. Next summer we will investigate the consequences of heat waves on our society. Are there differences per neighbourhood, street and type of house? Which groups get the short end of the stick? And what are the possibilities to take action?

Heat can cause health issues. The physical and mental complaints caused by heat are called heat stress. Heat stress is unevenly distributed across the Netherlands: the effects of warm summers on houses vary and the consequences for residents are not the same everywhere. The type of house, residential location, income and health, among other things, influence the consequences of heat for residents.

We will investigate the consequences of heat on the living environment of residents. The focus will be mainly on groups that are more vulnerable to the effects of heat. Between May and September, 100 households will measure indoor temperature and humidity. We enable people to map heat in their home, analyse the data, exchange knowledge and collaborate on journalistic productions about heat.

Read more about Thermo-staat in Dutch and visit the Thermo-staat website that was launched today!




Thermo-staat is financed by NWO, TAUW Foundation and NPO Innovation.