Football and beer in the sun: coronavirus experiments continue

Supporters during the match. Photo: ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / Marcel Krijgsman
Supporters during the match. Photo: ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / Marcel Krijgsman

Experiments to see if larger events can be held safely during the coronavirus pandemic continued at the weekend, this time with professional football.

On Sunday, 1,200 fans saw De Graafschap beat NEC 2-1 at NEC’s stadium in Nijmegen, after first testing negative for the virus. In total, 10 would-be supporters tested positive even though they had no symptoms and were not admitted to the grounds, the Volkskrant reported.

Once inside, the supporters were grouped into bubbles, some wearing masks, others were seated 1.5 metres apart. They were allowed to cheer.  ‘Now I am here, I know what I have been missing,’ supporter Daan van Boven told the paper. ‘This is just wonderful.’

Everyone who attended will be tested again later this week.

Meanwhile, one of the people who attended last Monday’s congress in Utrecht, the first of the series of experiments, has since tested positive for coronavirus.

The organisers told local broadcaster RTV Utrecht they do not know where the person was infected, but that he or she did not have any symptoms during the congress.

Everyone who attended had to have a negative test result before being admitted to the building and their temperature was also taken.


The football match and conference were organised together with the government to try to find out if large events can be held safely despite coronavirus.

Organiser FieldLab hopes to publish the results of the experiments in six weeks’ time.

Next month, two small scale festivals will also take place at the Biddinghuizen location where the massive Lowlands festival is held. Some 63,000 people signed up to attend the festivals, for which there are just 3,000 tickets in total.

Other trials are planned for theatres and concert halls.

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