Sterrebos near VDL Nedcar occupied

January 28, 2022

A group of environmental activists occupied the Sterrebos near Born (Limburg) early this morning. They climbed the trees with ropes and installed themselves in hammocks. The action is organized to protect the forest from the planned felling by car manufacturer VDL Nedcar. VDL Nedcar wants to build a new production line on the site of the centuries-old forest. The forest protectors call for the plan to be modified so that the forest is preserved. 

One of the activists says: “We have organized demonstrations, handed in petitions, and other actions, but it is clear that VDL Nedcar only cares about maximum profit. They don’t care about this forest, the bats and other animals who live here. They choose the cheapest option. VDL pretends that the Sterrebos is holding back thousands of jobs, but that is nonsense. We are for trees and jobs, and above all for a future for everyone!” 

The dozens of activists dressed as bats come from all over the country, including the province of Limburg. They have united under the name “Save the Sterrebos” and are affiliated with various climate and environmental action groups. The activists say they are inspired by successful forest occupations in Germany, and closer in Schinveld (2005-2006) which saved 14 hectares of forest. 

On January 13, the Council of State heard the various objections to the logging, including proceedings on the merits and a preliminary injunction from SEVON and the Green Spotted Wolf. Although no ruling has yet been issued, VDL may already begin preparatory work and move plants and shrubs. As long as there are people in the trees, the forest cannot be cut down. With the occupation, the activists want to prevent irreversible damage and therefore they plan to stay until the preservation of the Sterrebos is guaranteed.

The Sterrebos is a unique, quiet, wild forest. Because it is not maintained and is not accessible to the public, it is an ideal refuge for deer, badgers, bats and breeding birds. Many of the trees, especially oaks, are 200 years old. 

VDL Nedcar is required to compensate by planting new trees. The forest protectors state, “An old forest like the Sterrebos cannot be compensated for. It will take at least another hundred years before a compensation forest has the same value as the current forest. We do not have that time. We have to combat climate change and restore biodiversity. Cutting down an old forest for the profit of a car factory is diametrically opposed to that. ” 

Save the Sterrebos calls on local residents and nature lovers to also come and help with the occupation. On the website ( and social media news updates are shared and also a fundraising campaign.