Home What does Sotto le Stelle? The Netherlands by night in maps and pictures Information on light pollution Information about Sotto le Stelle and Wim Schmidt Blog
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Light nuisance has been a problem for almost twenty years now. In the meantime, our knowledge of this phenomenon has increased considerably: glare, visibility of stars, influence on animals and even health. The literature and knowledge of the subject is substantial.

Sotto le Stelle distinguishes three terrains of light nuisance:

Direct nuisance
Neighbors experience nuisance from a sports field or advertisement. They cannot walk their gardens because of the glare of the light or have to keep their curtains closed all the time.
Horizon pollution
On the Dutch horizon, street lighting or towns are always visible. In excess this affects the landscape at night. Visual cluttering of the landscape also exits at night.
A haze of light envelops the Netherlands (Light Pollution). As a result darkness diminishes and stars become invisible. Most Dutch people have never seen the Milky Way.

Direct nuisance
If there are complaints about the lighting, you can ask Sotto le Stelle to execute a light nuisance investigation. The measuring protocol and regulations for light nuisance of the NSVV are leading.

Horizon pollution
Not only during the day but also at night our country makes a messy impression. From almost every location you can see a lot of light sources in the distance.

Sotto le Stelle has developed a method in which the open landscape is reviewed for this kind of horizon pollution. Hereby pictures are made in which the whole horizon is pictured. On basis of these pictures a map is made, on which all the light sources are depicted.

A municipality knows in this way which light sources cause a lot of nuisance for the surroundings. Photography, fisheye lenses and panorama photography are useful means to form a notion of the whole territory. Sotto works also on a method to judge the relative strength of the light sources.

Lightpolution / darkness / visibility of stars
Even in the darkest part of the Netherlands, the night sky gives a little light. The sky is a kind of lamp which is indeed weak but also very big.

The light from the sky comes partly directly out of the universe like stars, but in the Netherlands it comes mostly from the artificial light on the ground, till form more than 50 kilometers around.

Measuring those small amounts and discovering the polluting light sources is the specialty of Sotto le Stelle. Normal measuring devices are not functioning anymore; it is too dark. Wim Schmidt uses the luminance of stars on his long lighted pictures to measure the luminance of the surrounding sky. To download an article for a elaborate justification download (till now only in Dutch)Meten van de duisternis uitgebreid. For a short version download Meten van de duisternis kort

Sotto le Stelle has the past few years pictured the darkness and light in different provinces like Overijssel, Gelderland, Utrecht, Zeeland en most of the province Zuid-Holland. Also the island of Texel and the municipalities of Hengelo and Amsterdam are judged. All maps can be found under The Netherlands at night.
More Dutch information and links are on the website of the Platform Lichthinder.
An English source of information is International Dark-Sky Association.

Sotto le Stelle,