People of the Netherlands turn to live-stream webcams as curfew kicks in
The national coronavirus curfew came into effect on January 23, and search engine Google immediately reported a drastic increase in the number of “webcam” searches.
Rise in Google searches for webcams
The 9pm to 4.30am curfew - the first Dutch curfew since the second world war - left streets across the Netherlands deserted. With all shops and businesses closed, pretty much the only people out and about were those going home after work or walking their dog.
This phenomenon of empty and quiet streets apparently left many curious as to what cities across the Netherlands looked like when no one was around. Data from Google revealed that searches for the word “webcam” increased tenfold at 9pm on January 23 in comparison to the days leading up to the curfew.
Dutch live-stream site welcomes increased traffic
Webcam.nl - a site that not only offers members of the public to buy webcams and security cameras, but also gives them the chance to watch live streams of sites across the Netherlands - also reported increased traffic last weekend: “[on Saturday and Sunday] we had twenty thousand simultaneous viewers...ten times our usual numbers,” site manager Peter Austin told NU.nl.
Austin notes that he has seen site traffic increase over the past year, suggesting that people use webcams as a “virtual window” while they are stuck at home throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Webcams showing streams of Dam Square, Zaanse Schans and other popular - and typically overcrowded - sites are proving particularly popular.