The City of Din. Decibels, noise and neighbors in the Netherlands 1910-1980

K.T. Bijsterveld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Science and technology have played a crucial role in regulating problems resulting from urban overcrowding. In the twentieth century, the decibel became a major factor in controlling, for instance, urban traffic noise in the Netherlands. "The city of din" led to the creation of the portable noise meter to measure decibels, but the urban context also set limits to its utility in noise conflicts between neighbors. Regarding neighborly noise, the trust in numbers failed to be productive. Legislation, based on objective noise levels, aimed at regulating disturbance from neighbors was not realized in any comprehensive manner, due to changing class relations and the increasing recognition of both the subjectivity of noise and the right to make noise in the privacy of one's own home.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-193
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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