AMSTERDAM — Facebook owner Meta said on Tuesday it was suspending plans to build a giant data center in the Netherlands, following political opposition.

The move comes a week after the Dutch Senate passed a motion calling on Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government to ‘use its powers’ to temporarily block construction of the site in the northern town of Zeewolde, 50km east. from Amsterdam.

“Given the current circumstances, we have decided to suspend our development efforts at Zeewolde,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

In December, the city approved plans to build the largest such facility in the Netherlands, from which Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp would serve users across Europe.

It would use 1.38 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity and cover 166 hectares (410 acres) of farmland, and is expected to run on green energy and create 400 permanent jobs.

However, it has encountered opposition from some environmental activists who do not want the limited supply of sustainable electricity produced in the Netherlands to be used by a multinational company. Some residents of Zeewolde said they felt their voice had not been heard in the permitting process.

The Senate motion called on the government to delay construction until a government policy on data centers was agreed.

“After being invited in 2019 by local, provincial and national government to consider an investment in a data center in the Netherlands and in Zeewolde in particular, Meta envisioned a strong partnership that would bring jobs and community benefits to the region,” the spokesperson said.

The company left the door open for the project to restart, saying it would continue to cooperate with the municipality on the way forward.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Toby Sterling; Editing by Mark Potter)