Home and estate owners in The Netherlands can no longer stop the use of satellite dishes by their tenants, following a verdict by the Amsterdam Court.
Prohibition is only allowed when a suitable alternative is available, such as cable or web radio and TV, but only if the same choice of channels can be accessed. The judge referred to a verdict by the European Court of Human Rights, Two years ago, the Court said that the right to information gathering was more important than aesthetic concerns, referring to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression and gathering.
During the past few years, various Dutch courts have ruled differently in similar cases. In some instances, the view that web TV and radio offered a suitable alternative prevailed. However, in practice the number of channels available on satellite is unrivaled.
The Amsterdam Court ruled in an appeal case by Esthéticienne BV, a company that rented three homes in the holiday park Waterpark It Soal in Workum. In order to make the holiday homes attractive to international visitors, Esthéticienne BV had installed satellite dishes on the three homes, which the park’s owners wanted to be removed.
A lower court ruled that the dishes indeed needed to be removed, but the higher court has now ruled the installation of the dishes to be legal. The past few years, home owners and local government have tried to stop dishes being installed, but this latest ruling has finally established clarity in the matter,
In a reaction to the verdict, Bill Wijdeveld, MD of ASTRA Benelux, said in a statement: “This ruling is a breakthrough in the law and a victory for freedom of reception. We assume that this will stop the growing trend towards illegal dish prohibited. The ruling should not prevent housing corporations and municipalities to build SMATV systems, because this may help reduce the need for individual dishes and increases the choice of people.”