Mayors from across the Netherlands have renewed calls for a total ban on consumer fireworks, following the problems during this year’s New Year festivities.
Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema described the situation in the capital, where the ban on fireworks was widely ignored, as ‘tense and busy’ with ‘far more arrests’ than last year.
The mayor also made a new appeal to the government to ban fireworks nationally, saying that without one, it is impossible to stop people setting them off at a local level.
In total, 12 towns and cities had imposed local bans, while hundreds of others had set up firework free zones.
Nijmegen mayor Hubert Bruls, who chairs the 25-city safety council, said the lack of a national ban meant cities which do want to stop consumer fireworks ‘are playing a game it is impossible to win’. In Nijmegen the ban was also ignored.
‘If we really want to change something in the way we celebrate New Year, it will happen slowly,’ he said. A national ban, he told broadcaster NOS, would lead to ‘more celebratory and appropriate ways of bringing in the New Year’.
Meanwhile, justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz has condemned the way emergency service workers were attacked in some parts of the country. In The Hague, for example, police officers were pelted with glass and fireworks and, according to police chief Henk van Essen, 12 had to be treated for a variety of injuries.
‘The firework tradition has become one in which every year police officers end up injured or with hearing damage,’ he said. ‘It makes me very angry, and we have to come up with a better way of celebrating the New Year.’
The specialist eye hospital in Rotterdam said on Monday morning it had treated 25 people who had firework-related injuries, the youngest of whom was a seven year old boy.
Seven of the victims had to undergo an operation, the hospital told news website Nu.nl.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation