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Minister to look at setting up firework-free zones ahead of New Year

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Parliament on Wednesday rejected calls to ban firework sales to the general public but justice minister Ivo Opstelten said he would talk to local councils about setting up 'firework-free zones'.

Every year dozens of people are seriously injured during the New Year festivities, which focus on fireworks at midnight.

Animal rights party PvdD wants a ban on firework sales because of the number of eye injuries, which 'outstrip those in war zones', news agency ANP reported. In Rotterdam alone, doctors treated 23 very serious eye injuries caused by fireworks this January.


Like most MPs, minister Opstelten said he did not favour a ban 'because setting off fireworks is a long tradition and many people look forward to it'.

However, he pledged to find out if local councils have the power to ban fireworks in certain areas, such as close to nursing homes or other institutions.

Following last year's New Year celebrations, the mayors of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague called for change.


Research by the environment ministry earlier this year showed 50% support for the Dutch New Year fireworks tradition with 49% opposed. But other polls have shown far greater support for a ban on sales to the public.

Fireworks can only be sold to the general public in the Netherlands for a few days before December 31.

Earlier, Opstelten reiterated the fact that people convicted of violence against the emergency services - particularly an issue during New Year - will face tougher sentences.

And he urged passersby to use their mobile phones to film any attacks they witness and hand them over to the police. People arrested during the New Year celebrations also face fast-track court hearings.

Earlier stories
Arrests, injuries and car fires during New Year festivities
Big cities look for alternative to fireworks
Two-thirds support a firework ban

What do you think? Have your say using the comment form below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

'Fireworks can only be sold to the general public in the Netherlands for a few days before December 31.'____________How come they're already being set off in my street in Amsterdam? NY eve used to be great fun years ago, anywhere in A'dam was safe but, over the last 20 years that's changed and now I hate it. Last year, 4 guys tried to lift up and carry away my invalid car! Give me a 'safe zone' to go to!

By woods | 19 December 2012 4:34 PM

This obsession the Dutch have for blowing off fireworks is a curious thing. I suppose it's mainly the men who are caught up in their adolescence. I think the government should work at slowly tightening the laws toward eventually outlawing the practice altogether. The amount of money spent on fireworks and the clean-up afterwards is ridiculous.

By Quince | 19 December 2012 4:35 PM

Sure, fireworks is a tradition. But the madness it is today is of more recent years. 20 years ago there was fireworks, but the country didn't resemble a war zone.

By pepe | 19 December 2012 5:49 PM

Makes a nice change to see a nice suggestion that cannot have come from Government researchers 'down the pub'. They used to tell me it was the best place for ideas - No way has this come from the pub - they wouldn't be bothered by the noise or injuries. This one must have come from the Shops where I used to meet these researchers, the morning after!

By Gerard | 19 December 2012 7:17 PM

@woods: the answer is very simple, since these products are legal in Belgium and Germany, it only takes a short drive to Turnhout, Kleven, Liege or Aachen to buy a lot of fireworks then bring them over the border. It is physically impossible to stop and search every single car, train passenger and even cyclists coming from Germany and Belgium.

By A.L. | 20 December 2012 2:19 PM

@A.L.: Sounds to me like the Germans and Belgians need to create a "vuurwerk pas" for their own citizens so as to stop those pesky Dutch from crossing the border and abusing the system.

By Stupid | 20 December 2012 5:42 PM

The safest place to be free from fireworks would be in a fallout shelter, any budget for that?

I will selfishly be watching the first 20 minutes of other people burning their money again..lol, - same as last year.:)

(Fireworks, another way to see the Euro go up in smoke.)

By The visitor | 21 December 2012 2:51 AM

@Stupid, I fear the Belgians and Germans won't do that. But there is always hope. Though I fear EU regulations won't allow such thing.

By pepe | 21 December 2012 5:06 PM

It really is madness that so much money is spent on fireworks, most brought by the public are very expensive and extremely unimpressive. Fools and their money are soon parted I suppose.

What really gets me is the total lack of consideration for others, the elderly or infirm and those with animals.

By Squatter Madras | 23 December 2012 9:54 AM

Fireworks go on all year round here in Moordrecht. Nothing is done to stop it. Have to take my dog to kennels each year so he can have some peace. Hope they ban them as being woken up at 03.00 for the past 4 nights is no fun. Will the Dutch ever grow a brain cell where fireworks are concerned?

By Sam | 28 December 2012 7:28 PM

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