"Bomenkompas" contributes to a healthy living environment for hay fever patients

Biologist and researcher Dr Letty de Weger of Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) has developed a “Bomenkompas”. This tool provides individuals, policymakers and landscape architects with an overview of the allergenicity of pollen that trees can spread in the living and working environment.

Allergic reaction due to pollen in the environment

In the Netherlands, about 20% of the population suffers from hay fever. Hay fever is caused by pollen originating from i.a. trees and grasses. Due to climate change, there is a higher demand for green spaces in cities and villages and more trees will be planted. These trees will also produce pollen. If the pollen are airborne in the area where people live or work, people may experience severe respiratory symptoms. Understanding which trees are more allergenic than others, can help municipalities and landscape architects to make informed choices when they design landscapes.

The tool is relevant and available to all

From now on, individuals, policymakers and landscape architects can use the online "Bomenkompas" on the Dutch LUMC website. So that when designing living areas and landscapes, they do not place too many trees that can cause hay fever due to their pollen. By ensuring a better balance and diversity when planting trees such as birch, hazel and alder, hay fever patients have a nicer living environment. The “Bomenkompas” is the result of cooperation between LUMC, Terra Nostra, Wageningen University, GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Elkerliek Hospital and Reinier de Graaf Hospital. This research project was funded by ZonMw from the Climate and Health programme. Read more about the health effects of climate change and a healthy living environment on our website.