Coronavirus fines: New figures reveal the strictest Dutch cities
An investigation into the number of coronavirus fines issued in Dutch cities and municipalities has revealed that Nijmegen is the strictest city by far, and that Rotterdam has issued the most fines in total.
Rotterdam issued the most fines
The figures were made public following a freedom of information request to the Public Prosecution Service (OM) by the newspaper de Volkskrant. The results reveal big differences between different cities and municipalities in the number of fines issued throughout the coronavirus crisis.
In absolute figures, Rotterdam issued the most fines, totalling 1.400 between March 23 and June 28. This is significantly more than in other major Dutch cities, like Amsterdam, where 835 were issued, and The Hague, with 923 fines.
Cities that issued comparatively few fines include Utrecht, with 371 in total, Tilburg, with 323, and Eindhoven, with 208. There were also 28 municipalities in which no fines at all were issued. These include Emmen, Texel, and Tubbergen.
Nijmegen the strictest Dutch city
For the total number of fines, Nijmegen comes in fourth place nationally, with 578 fines issued. However, when the population of the city is taken into account, the ratio of fines to people makes it clear that Nijmegen was much stricter in taking action against breaches of the coronavirus rules.
Nijmegen issued 32,5 fines for every 10.000 members of its population. This is on average three times the number issued in Amsterdam and Utrecht, and almost double the number issued in neighbouring city Arnhem. Comparatively, Rotterdam comes in second with 21,5 fines per 10.000 people.
Mayor of Nijmegen, Hubert Bruls, stated that rules in his region have been consistently enforced: “When it became clear in the early days that a warning was insufficient, we became stricter and started to issue fines. After that, the number of fines quickly decreased.”
Coronavirus fines in the Netherlands
In total, more than 15.000 fines were issued across the country for violations of the coronavirus measures put in place by the Dutch government. These fines were mostly issued in response to people failing to maintain 1,5-metre distance, or meeting in groups larger than the three-people limit.
When the rules were set in March, criminal experts immediately warned they were unclear and would encourage arbitrariness when it came to issuing fines. These figures prove that local authorities and mayors have each enforced the coronavirus rules in wildly different ways.
Jan Brouwer, a professor of legal science, said these unclear rules should not be allowed: “You are dealing with a national crisis that is the same for everyone, but is maintained differently regionally. That’s crazy.”