Autumn sunshine draws thousands to woods and beaches despite stay home plea

PHoto: DutchNews.nl
Keep out of the countryside. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The weekend’s bright, sunny weather led thousands of people to flock to the Dutch countryside, despite the government’s advice to stay home as much as possible.

In Brabant, coastal regions and parts of Utrecht, local officials urged people to stay away as overcrowding led to overfull car parks and crowded pathways.

It was also extremely busy in city centres, as well as garden centres and DIY stores, broadcaster NOS reported.

The Netherlands is in a partial lockdown, although shops remain open, and the government last week called on people only to go out if necessary and to get some fresh air.

Rein Zwaan, team leader at the Utrecht forestry commission, told NOS that people are very welcome in the woods, but that they should stay local.

‘It was crazy busy this weekend,’ Zwaan said. ‘I understand why, because more and more places are closed and people want to get out and do something. So they think that there is space in nature, but, well, that is not always the case.’

Forbidden

‘People will continue to hit the streets as long as it is not forbidden,’ Utrecht University behavioural expert Rick van Baaren told the broadcaster. ‘People need to do something, it is human nature… they no longer see the urgency of the situation. Every message showing that the number of infections is going down makes people think they can do a little bit more.’

Monday is likely to be the last of the bright weather this week. The KNMI weather bureau says Tuesday will be mainly overcast with some showers later in the day.

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