More cities and towns ban blowing up milk churns as a fireworks alternative

Carbidschieten in Kampen. Photo: Berend Jan Stijf via Wikimedia Commons
Carbidschieten in Kampen. Photo: Berend Jan Stijf via Wikimedia Commons

Several councils want to ban the Dutch New Year tradition of carbidschieten – mixing carbide and water in a milk churn with a lid so it explodes – at New Year in the wake of the decision to outlaw fireworks.

The tradition, which ensures a noisy start to the New Year in the provinces, is set to be discussed by the 25 regional safety boards in their weekly talks on Monday, after carbide and milk churn sellers reported an increase in sales in recent weeks.

A number of places, including The Hague, Dordrecht, Lisse, Hillegom and Noordwijk have already said they will ban carbidschieten using local bylaws, broadcaster NOS reported.

Carbidschieten was included on the official list of Dutch traditions in 2014 by the Dutch Centre for Folk Culture. The activity is popular in eastern and northern parts of the Netherlands but can lead to serious injury.

The fireworks ban was introduced to relieve pressure on the emergency services during the New Year festivities, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, some 1,300 people were treated by family doctors and in hospital for firework-related injuries during the end of year celebrations.

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