In Nijmegen European Green Capital 2018, the local campaign ‘Paving slabs OUT, green IN!’ (in Dutch: ‘’Stenen eruit, groen erin!’) started on March 14. More than 2,000 kids from over 30 elementary schools joined together to plant 6,000 trees and shrubs, removing more than 8,000 paving slabs. The children were assisted by many teachers and parents, and also by four alderman of the Nijmegen’s city government.
Nijmegen has the policy to diminish, wherever possible, the area of hard surfaces in public as well as in private spaces. Impervious ground is a huge problem, rainwater running off into the drainage system instead of sinking into the soil, paved surfaces heating very quickly and cooling slowly, and green vegetation being so important for a healthy city and for biodiversity. Sealing of the ground is a problem that can’t be diminished overnight, so the campaign will last for several years. Nijmegen wants to be totally ‘rainwater neutral’ (= no more rain water in the waste water drainage system) by 2050. This goes hand in hand with further greening the city. Nijmegen is planting more and more trees and shrubs in public spaces that are yielding fruits and nuts, and is encouraging the citizens doing the same in their gardens.