Dutch municipalities experimenting with resident-policed firework-free zones
This New Year’s, at least 13 municipalities in the Netherlands will be experimenting with resident-policed firework-free zones, according to a survey by the Volkskrant of the fireworks policy at the 44 largest municipalities. For such zones, the municipality will provide signs but will not be enforcing the firework ban; this task falls to residents.
Firework-free zones in Dutch cities
Last year, The Hague trialled firework-free zones which residents could apply for but also had to supervise themselves. This year, 13 municipalities are following suit. The cities, which fall under the participating municipalities, are: Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague, Almere, Enschede, Delft, Groningen, Gouda, Hilversum, Tilburg, Zaanstad and Haarlem.
The hope is that, as the areas are not policed by officials, mayors are not subject to high costs but the nuisances caused by fireworks are still reduced. How many firework-free areas there will be in the aforementioned cities is not yet clear. What can be said though, is that there is not yet a great deal of interest.
According to a spokesperson for the municipality of Hilversum, “Many residents shy away from bother with neighbours who do want to set off fireworks”. One neighbourhood in The Hague, which was firework-free last year, has even decided not to go firework-free this year due to the problems it caused last time.
Enforcing firework-free zones in the Netherlands
On New Year’s Eve, law enforcement is so busy dealing with other cases that they do not have time to monitor firework-free zones. However, in some places, firework-free zones will be monitored this year. These places are Alkmaar, Amsterdam, Schiedam, Utrecht, Groningen, Enschede, The Hague, Ede, Amersfoort, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Hilversum, Leiden, Helmond and Deventer. So, some cities will have both policed and non-policed firework-free zones.
As of next year, municipalities will be able to instate a firework ban. Amsterdam and Rotterdam will be doing just that and then only allowing fireworks in specially designated areas.