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New Year violence still unacceptable, says Dutch justice minister

Tuesday 01 January 2013

Although there were less violent incidents during the New Year festivities compared with last year, the number of attacks on emergency service workers is still unacceptable, justice minister Ivo Opstelten said on Tuesday.

In total, there were 8,094 incidents, down 350 on a year ago, Opstelten said. The number of attacks on police, ambulance staff and firemen fell from 110 to 74.

Some 61 people were arrested in connection with these attacks, the minister said.

Riot police

According to Nos television, several police officers in the Zuid-Holland town of Moordrecht, south of Gouda, were forced to flee into a private home to escape a gang of youths.

They were responding to reports that a gang of youths was smashing windows and vandalising a house. Riot police were brought in to restore order and 18 youths were arrested.

Nationwide, over 1,000 people were arrested for setting fires, fighting, vandalism and other offences, down from 1,300 a year ago. Nevertheless, the total is still too high, Opstelten said.

‘We won’t accept it,’ the Telegraaf reported him as saying. ‘We have to continue our efforts to ensure New Year remains a party.’


The minister also called on local councils to do more to organise their own firework shows, as happens in France.

However, the minister said he recognises there is a tradition of letting off fireworks in the Netherlands after midnight and that this is an ‘important tradition’, the Telegraaf said.

Rain dampens New Year spirits, fewer arrests and injuries

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Instead of complaining he should do something about it. As long as justice is a joke, this will be a sad endless story.

By Ronald | 1 January 2013 8:52 PM

As a British national, I would encourage the Dutch authorities to do everything possible to address both the symptoms ( violence etc) and the cause ( incl social cohesion). There is an already too-large under-belly of people in the UK who feel (socially, financially etc) so irrelevant that excessive drinking, violence etc seems their only escape....some are very close to being back to their Neanderthal roots. Not everything has a solution but its good - for the benefit of all - to give it a shot.

By Stewart | 2 January 2013 12:02 AM

Disgusting. Where do these morons think they are, the UK? We don't want to end up like that, do as?

By Pannekoek | 2 January 2013 1:45 AM

(the minister he recognises there is a tradition of letting off fireworks in the Netherlands after midnight)

That is not the case at all, the mayhem starts at 10.00am. Young children and youths wandering the streets with bags of fireworks unsupervised. It is bloody dangerous, my wife and I had to take cover at one point because the rockets were fired vertically towards the houses in our area. No supervision from parents at all, it is total madness. At one point they were aiming them towards police cars, and there was no reaction?

By Inconvenient Truth | 2 January 2013 9:21 AM

New Year violence still unacceptable, says Dutch justice minister. I strongly agree. For example where I live in Schalkwik all the waste disposal units were blocked and the paper disposal units also at a time of year when they are most needed. To have those responsible arrested would however amount to them arresting themselves. Another example of the poor credential of Dutch enviromental care.

By Terence Hale | 2 January 2013 10:05 AM

They will never ban fireworks.There is too much revenue made out of it.They will keep arrssting a token amount of peoplemand talk tough but at the end of the day new years in Holland will always be a chaotic night of violence and bombs.Pancake if you think this is what its like in the UK then think again your bigotry should be directed towrds your own people.Blaming another nation for your own failings is just so Dutch.

By jason buttle | 2 January 2013 11:54 AM

Enough is enough. Amsterdam becomes a no-go area as soon as dark descends.It is totally unacceptable for those of us who want to celebrate to have to bow down to thugs who are quite prepared to bring their brand of hooliganism from the football pitch to the city. What a weak lot of poiticians who dilly dally and shilly shally and don't want to offend "tradition". Instead organise city fireworks celebrations like other civilised cities around the world. It would save €60 million euros, put Belgian shops who sell illegal firworks out of business and save the cost of the police,fire ambulance authorities as well as cleaning up the foul human detritus left by these urban cave dwellers.

By notnef | 2 January 2013 4:31 PM

However, the minister said he recognises there is a tradition of letting off fireworks in the Netherlands after midnight and that this is an ‘important tradition’, the Telegraaf said.

Oh well that's alright then!

By DougNL | 2 January 2013 10:35 PM

@Jason: I'm afraid you have misunderstood. I was not blaming another country for Dutch problems, but making a comparison regarding the attacks on police and emergency services personnel. By comparing this appalling behaviour to what we see as endemic in the UK, where tolerated hooliganism and chav culture combined with hopelessness and social unrest have led to dystopian no-go zones and nihilistic riots. The point of this comparison is underscore the seriousness of the issue. While the roots of the social problems in the UK may be too deep and well established, we are only beginning to see similar symptoms in The Netherlands.

By Pannekoek | 3 January 2013 7:00 AM

Completely agree with notnef. Ban fireworks, encourage city councils to organize the celebrations, and civilize the youth.

By JF | 3 January 2013 9:18 AM

Boohooo, someone wrote something bad about the UK. Of course Brits can't handle that, after all only Brits are allowed to criticize other countries.

By pepe | 3 January 2013 11:17 AM

The law doesn't work here and the Police are powerless to stop the illegal use of fireworks, or choose to ignore it. It starts here in November and goes on to mid January. Time to clamo down on these anti social idiots. Why else would you let off a very loud firework at 03.00? Time the Dutch government had a spine implant

By Andy | 5 January 2013 12:31 PM

I hate new year's in Holland. I always make sure I'm out of the country until the 2nd.

By expat | 5 January 2013 1:08 PM

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