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Weekend of anti-lockdown protests across the Netherlands

Weekend of anti-lockdown protests across the Netherlands

After Friday’s press conference, which saw the Dutch government relax only some of the national coronavirus restrictions, people and businesses up and down the country took to the streets - both figuratively and literally - to protest the Netherlands’ COVID-19 policy. 

15.000 people at anti-coronavirus protest in Amsterdam

One year to the day since the first anti-coronavirus demonstration took place on the Museumplein in Amsterdam, people once again returned to the Dutch capital on Sunday to protest the lockdown restrictions and vaccination policy. 

The municipality reports that 15.000 people gathered at various points throughout Amsterdam before coming together at the Museumplein on Sunday afternoon. Dutch police reported that nine arrests were made, but the municipality said the protest “passed peacefully.”

Those present chanted songs such as “we are tired of the lies,” and “children are our future, not our guinea pigs.” There were also around 30 tractors parked on the Museumplein as part of the protest, with farmers from as far away as Groningen travelling to Amsterdam to protest the restrictions.

Dutch restaurants reopen in spite of lockdown rules

In line with what a number of entrepreneurs had announced last week ahead of the press conference, restaurants and cafes across the Netherlands opened their doors over the weekend to protest the ongoing lockdown for the hospitality industry. 

NOS reports that hundreds of eateries up and down the country were open on Saturday, and while some knew they had the support of their local municipality, others risked fines of up to 4.000 euros for opening their doors. Restaurant owner Gijs Werschkull from Utrecht explained to local media that it was worth the risk to take a stand: “As a catering industry, we are a sector that has been severely affected…A point has to be made.”

The weekend may be over, but businesses in Enschede have already said they are planning more protests this week, and Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), the largest union representing hospitality businesses in the Netherlands, expects there will be more protests over the coming weeks.

Cultural sector considering legal action against Dutch government

The cultural sector is also fighting the ongoing lockdown for theatres, cinemas and museums. Reports on Monday morning say the sector is looking into taking legal action against the Dutch government.

"There are 85,000 shops and 450 museums. Why can't the latter be open as a transfer location?” asks Jan Zoet from Kunsten ‘92, an interest group representing hundreds of cultural organisations across the country.

Victoria Séveno

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Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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