Dutch nightclubs to reopen doors in protest from February 12
With the Dutch government refusing to lift restrictions for nightclubs in the Netherlands, business owners in the sector have announced a nationwide protest that will see clubs open their doors on February 12.
Nightclubs to open as part of De Nacht Staat Op protest
National coronavirus restrictions have meant the Dutch nightlife industry has faced a near two-year lockdown, offered only a few weeks of respite over the summer of 2021 following the government’s Dansen met Janssen campaign.
Now, however, with many countries across Europe opting to lift all remaining restrictions, tensions amongst business owners have reached a boiling point. The government maintains that it is too early to reopen clubs, but a number of nightclubs across the country announced this week that they would reopen their doors, regardless of restrictions, from 9pm on February 12 as part of the De Nacht Staat Op protest.
In a video on Instagram, Dutch drag queen Joost Gimbel spoke on behalf of the industry, announcing clubs would reopen “not for one night, but for every night.” “Everyone deserves the night to get to know or be themselves, and those who don't see that are sleeping,” says Gimbel, who is better known by the stage name Hoax LeBeau.
MPs push for relaxation of COVID-19 rules in the Netherlands
The government faces increasing pressure from all sides, with business owners and experts alike arguing that more restrictions can and should be lifted. This week, various researchers and epidemiologists spoke out against the current coronavirus certificate system, with Patricia Bruijning from UMC Utrecht arguing that “the effect of 3G in its current form is very limited.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Ernst Kuipers has taken the decision to once again postpone the cabinet’s plans to potentially introduce 2G rules, saying more research is needed in order to determine whether the policy would be a “proportional measure.” The policy, which would mean only those fully vaccinated or recently recovered would have access to a valid QR code in the CoronaCheck app, has little support from MPs in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer).
A number of politicians have also spoken out against the cabinet’s so-called emergency coronavirus law - temporary legislation that has been in place since the outbreak of COVID-19. Opposition parties argue that the law has become obsolete now that the peak of the pandemic has passed, and believe that the Netherlands should follow in the footsteps of the United Kingdom and Denmark and abolish all remaining restrictions.
The current package of restrictions is set to remain in place until March 8, although at the most recent press conference Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the cabinet would reevaluate the situation in mid-February. On Monday, representatives from the nightlife industry will meet with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to discuss options for the reopening of nightclubs before March 8.