Pokémon Go takes the Netherlands by storm

If you were out enjoying the sun this weekend, you more than likely spotted individuals or groups of people walking around with their smartphone held up in front of them.

That’s because Pokémon Go became officially available in the Netherlands (and 25 other countries) on July 16, even if a lot of people managed to download it earlier.

10 percent of adults play Pokémon Go

A survey by Multiscope shows that already 10 percent of people in the Netherlands above the age of 18 are playing the outdoor, smartphone-based video game. Other reports mention 1,3 million Dutch people currently playing the game.

The game combines the real world with the virtual world, a combination that’s so far proving to be very popular. When you download the app, it will superimpose an image of a Pokémon on top of real-world locations.

A virtual map of the area you’re in shows you the points of interest. These locations are the same for all players, which results in large number of people congregating in the same place for the same reason.

Traffic rules still apply

The first citations have already been handed out to Pokémon Go players breaking the law. In Amsterdam, police stopped a woman on a scooter who was playing the game and gave her a 160 euro fine for using her smartphone while riding.

How the Netherlands plays Pokemon Go

There are locations in the Netherlands that are extra interesting for Pokémon Go players. Amusement park De Efteling, for example, is being described as a Pokémon paradise with a large number of the rarer kinds to be found.

A number of businesses are organising special Pokémon events as well, as a way to create a fun social activity for young and old, and of course to lure more customers.

Dierenpark Amersfoort is inviting Pokémon hunters on July 20 to gather at the zoo to collect as many of the digital critters as they can find.

You can now even find Pokémon-themed pastries at Dutch bakeries and even Pokémon Go ice cream at some ice cream parlors!

Special safety measures

Since Pokémon Go is attracting such large numbers of people who aren’t always paying attention to the world around them, large public events are taking special steps to help maintain safety.

The widely popular, four-day annual walking event in Nijmegen called the Vierdaagse (International Four Days Marches) is not underestimating the drawing power of Pokémon Go.

The city has put up special signs on 40 important intersections and crossings in order to keep the various groups of people from interfering with each other too much.

A special Pokémon Go event organised during the festivities in Nijmegen had more than a thousand people signing up.

Special Pokémon Go festivals

Dedicated Pokémon Go events are already popping up in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam on August 20, the Pokemon Go Festival will be held.

The Efteling amusement park is organising an event a day earlier, on August 19. Groningen is organising another Pokemon Go event on July 29.

Cover photo: Gigi Wong

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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