People who set off fireworks during the New Year festivities face a fine of at least €100, and that means an automatic criminal record, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said on Friday.
The government has decided to ban all fireworks but children’s sparklers during this year’s New Year celebrations, in order to reduce pressure on the emergency services.
‘New Year is always a very busy time for the emergency services,’ Grapperhaus said. ‘And coronavirus wil make it even more so. That is why the government has agreed to a firework ban this year.’
Last year, some 1,300 people were treated by family doctors and in hospital for firework-related injuries during the end of year celebrations.
Mayors, local safety board chiefs and the police had all asked the government to impose the ban, and ministers agreed at Friday’s cabinet meeting to fall into line.
Ministers have set aside €40m in compensation for the firework retail sector, Grapperhaus said. Most sellers have already bought their stocks for this year and ministers have agreed that they may store them at a number of secure locations for next year’s celebrations.
Grapperhaus said that he understood the decision to ban fireworks would be disappointing to many. Ministers will soon announce what form acceptable Christmas New Year celebrations may take given the coronavirus restrictions, he said.
Last year, the Dutch spent some €60m on fireworks for the end of year frenzy.