Noise exposure around the Schiphol airport

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Noise exposure gives the number of people exposed to different levels of noise in the vicinity of Schiphol airport


Noise is one of the most important environmental effects of aviation activities, the largest impact of which is realised in the community surrounding the airport (Lu & Morrell 2006). Factors affecting noise exposure and impact include the characteristics of the settlement in the vicinity of the airport, and the quality and quantity of airtraffic (aircraft and engine types, time of day, flight paths, landing and take-off procedures) and related activities. Noise exposure from airports can be controlled and limited with different measures ranging from noise abaitment procedures to limits on total noise allowed, e.g. night flight restrictions and curhews, night quotas, or noise charges and penalties.

Different noise units [1][2]:

Kosten unit (Ke): a unique, Dutch measure for the annual average noise from air traffic around airports, which 'adds up' the peak levels from all flights. It includes only those flights that generate peak levels in excess of 65 dB(A). The use of a threshold value of 65 dB(A) to calculate Kosten Units results in the exclusion of an increasing number of movements. At slightly larger distances from Schiphol Airport, where more but quieter airplanes fly over, the observed noise exposure in Ke appeared to decrease more than has now proven to be the case on the basis of the equivalent noise level. Ke values cannot be converted directly into Lden values, however, the Lden value is approximately equal to (0.5*Kosten unit+41) (Dassen et al. (2000) in Franssen et al. (2004)). 35 and 20 Ke correspond approximately to 58 and 53 dB(A) Lden respectively; 20 and 26 LAeq to approximately 41 and 49 dB(A) Lnight respectively.

Lden: 'Lday-evening-night'. An equivalent noise unit, which gives a higher weighting for noise in the evening and at night than for noise during the day. A threshold value is not used. The Lden is set out in an EU directive for ambient noise for the appraisal of noise from road and rail traffic, aviation and industry.

dB(A): The A-weighted decibel value - dB(A) - is the most common unit of noise measurement. The A-weighting takes into account the sensitivity of the human ear to pitch. Halving or doubling the noise sources corresponds to 3 units. People experience a decrease or increase of 10 units of noise exposure as respectively a halving or doubling of the volume of the noise. A selection of values: - 40 dB(A): natural background level; maximum value for noise abatement zones; - 50 dB(A): noise in a quiet residential street; - 70 dB(A): noise of an average main road at a distance of 10 metres.

The number of residences in different noise contours in Schiphol is originally from Schiphol Group 2002 (obtained from Lu & Morrell 2006). Visser et al (2005) published a noise map from Schiphol (although this is probably not the original place of publication).


  • Schiphol Group (2002). Gebruiksplan Schiphol 2001. The Netherlands. In:Lu, C. & Morrell, P. (2006). Determination and applications of environmental costs at different sized airports - aircraft noise and engine emissions. Transportation 33:45-61.
  • Otto Visser, Joop H van Wijnen and Flora E van Leeuwen: Incidence of cancer in the area around Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in 1988–2003: a population-based ecological study. BMC Public Health 2005, 5:127 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-127



List of parents:


Schiphol Group (2002):

Kosten unit (KU): number of residences

  • >65: 14
  • 60-65: 33
  • 55-60: 70
  • 50-55: 402
  • 45-50: 1675
  • 35-40: 3358
  • 35-40: 3857
  • 30-35: 13539
  • 25-30: 44048
  • 20-25: 55634

Noise exposure Schiphol.JPG