One out of five imported fireworks not safe

Dutch inspectors have found that 21 percent of imported fireworks do not meet safety standards, about the same as in 2014.

Low-flying, burning debris and fireworks falling over were the two most common problems identified by the Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport (ILT). This board of inspectors is in charge of fireworks safety among other things.

The inspectors focused specifically on products that have the potential of harming people. It is the responsibility of the importer to destroy all fireworks that were deemed unsafe. In 2014, 22 percent of tested fireworks were found to be unsafe.

Fireworks detection system

In an effort to fight the nuisance caused by fireworks, six Dutch cities have adopted a new and highly accurate detection system to easier identify excessive or unlawful use of fireworks during New Year’s Eve.

In Leiden the police have on five locations installed highly sensitive military microphones that are designed to detect detonations in war zones to within a few metres.

The mayor told the AD that the excessive use of fireworks during the last few weeks of the year cause so many problems that this is the only way to fight it.

The microphones register any explosion within a three kilometre radius and automatically calculate where it occurred. Within seconds the location is emailed to local police.

On the look-out for offenders

While police have their hands full during the end of the year, Dutch cities are making extra staff available to specifically target people using fireworks in an unlawful manner.

In the Netherlands you are allowed to set off fireworks between 6pm and 2am on New Year’s Eve and Day.

The chairman of the Dutch police union indicated recently that they do not have enough manpower to handle all fireworks violations during the end of the year.

Cities such as Amsterdam use boa’s to battle public nuisance caused by fireworks. A buitengewone opsporingsambtenaar is a city employee with the authority to hand out citations and make arrests, and typically have a specific purpose.

Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are putting more boa’s on the streets during NYE to keep an eye on fireworks use.

Thomas Lundberg


Thomas Lundberg

Born as a Swede in the Netherlands, this life-long expat has spent his time in Belgium, the United States and Amsterdam. He began his professional career as a regional news...

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