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The Netherlands firework hotline: increasing complaints

More than 10.000 complaints have been filed since the firework hotline opened on Saturday, December 24. 

The firework hotline

The hotline is in its fifth year, following an initiative that started with the political party GroenLinks. There are 30 divisions around the Netherlands, including the cities of Rotterdam, The Hague and Groningen, who have set up the hotline to gain a better understanding of the problems caused by fireworks, including the increasing number of people who find them a nuisance.

In 2015, the hotline received 89.000 complaints. According to Arno Bonte, councillor for GroenLinks Rotterdam, and initiator of the hotline, 2016’s use of fireworks is predicted to be higher than that of 2015.

Firecrackers called "bombs" have made up most of the complaints, with "irritating supermarket fireworks" coming in at second place. 

Police urge parents to check for illegal fireworks

Ad Nieuwdorp, a fireworks expert of the Dutch police, stated that parents are often "naïve" about the dangers that come with fireworks and urges them to check their children’s as well as their children’s friends for illegal fireworks.

According to Nieuwdorp, fireworks these days are far more dangerous than the strikers and astronauts that parents lit as teenagers. He continues by warning that a legal banger going off in the hands of a child will leave a child’s hands burned, whilst an illegal banger will blow the hand off. He urges parents to report any illegal fireworks they discover, even if anonymously, as their children will be at risk.

A large percentage of annual firework injuries that end up in hospital are in fact, boys between the ages of 11 and 14 who were playing with illegal fireworks. Additionally, 38 out of 80 serious cases, were children in that age bracket. 

The effects with fireworks

According to the website, fireworks cause millions of euros worth in damage as well as hundreds of injuries, not to mention how fireworks disturb wildlife. 

For example, foundation Bird Protection (Vogelbescherming) were able to witness more than 2 million birds fleeing the fireworks from midnight on January 1, 2016, with the help of new arial technology, as featured in Nature Today.

Bronte has stated that several city councils have set firework-free zones following complaints that were reported about pollution.

GroenLinks believes that private fireworks should be prohibited, and that only professionals should be allowed to take care of firework displays.

Dutch firework rules & where to find them

Lighting fireworks is only permitted on December 31, between 6pm and 2am. The hotline will be open until January 3. 

Read more about NYE fireworks in the Netherlands, including where to find legal fireworks for New Year's Eve.

Kiri

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Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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