Burka ban comes into effect in the Netherlands next month
As of next month, August 1, the so-called burka ban comes into effect in the Netherlands. Those wearing clothing that covers the face in public buildings, hospitals, public transport and schools could face a fine of 150 euros.
What precisely is banned?
Clothing which covers the face includes anything from balaclavas to burkas and full-faced helmets. It is specifically clothing which makes somebody unrecognisable, as either the whole face is covered or only the eyes are visible. Wearing such clothing in public spaces like hospitals, schools, public transport or government buildings will result in you first being asked to remove it or leave the location. If necessary, the police may be brought in and a fine will be issued.
The fine is set at 150 euros but may be higher is someone refuses to leave the space. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) also points out that the fine can run up if other criminal offences take place, such as violation of the identification requirement.
Exceptions to the ban
The law, which is officially the “partial ban on face-covering clothing”, is just that: partial. It, therefore, has exceptions. Such clothing is allowed if it is necessary to protect the face and body during sports, for example a mask when fencing, or in a professional context, like a safety mask for a welder.
Additionally, clothing which covers the face is allowed in public if a certain event or party calls for it (think masks during a Sinterklaas celebration at school or a bride’s veil during a wedding at city hall). Moreover, the ban does not apply to clients, patients or visitors to long-term care institutions such as retirement homes. This is considered the private domain of clients or patients. For those wondering, headscarves, face paint and caps do not fall under the ban.