Mayors call for fireworks ban in the Netherlands after busy New Year’s Eve
Police unions and mayors from across the Netherlands have once again called on the Dutch government to enforce a national ban on personal fireworks on New Year’s Eve, after December 31 saw a number of incidents and accidents occur across the country.
Dutch police and hospitals experience busy New Year’s Eve
While several major Dutch cities and towns had implemented a ban on fireworks for New Year’s Eve, police forces and hospitals across the country had a busy night on December 31. The Dutch police told NOS there were mainly “smaller disturbances, where short intervention often sufficed,” but a number of buildings were damaged and several people were injured over the course of the evening.
Doctors at various hospitals in the Netherlands also pointed out that it was an extremely busy night. The Haaglanden Medical Centre reports that it treated as many fireworks victims “as before the coronavirus pandemic,” and Tjeerd de Faber, an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) in Rotterdam, said it was an “old-fashioned horror night,” and that the high number of injuries was partly due to the windy weather.
Fireworks injuries and incidents reported across the Netherlands
In The Hague, 12 officers were injured after members of the public threw fireworks at local police forces. In Utrecht, an 11-year-old boy was treated at the Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital where his hand had to be amputated and his right eye removed as a result of injuries suffered from fireworks.
A fire broke out at a primary school in Amsterdam, as well as at a nursing home in Nijmegen. Meanwhile, in Veghel, a historic chapel dating back to the 1890s has been left in ruins following a large fire which emergency services believe was caused by fireworks.
Mayors and police call on Dutch government to enforce national ban
While the police argue that in many areas, including Limburg and parts of North Holland, the busyness was “manageable,” a spokesperson for the police told NOS that better cooperation is needed in Europe to limit the sale of illegal or dangerous fireworks.
Similarly, police unions NPB and ANPV have called on the cabinet to introduce a national ban, as the current municipal bans are confusing and difficult to enforce. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema has also issued “another urgent appeal” to the government for a national ban, as has Nijmegen major Hubert Bruls.