The Dutch have spent €105 million on fireworks for the New Year celebrations, slightly down on last year’s record €110 million, the Dutch pyrotechnic association said on Sunday.
However the real total may be higher because an estimated €10 million worth were bought over the border in Germany. There are some 900 licenced outlets in the Netherlands to buy fireworks during the three day window.
Officials in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague have also confirmed that their organised shows will go ahead despite the bad weather warnings. According to the KNMI weather bureau, strong winds, hail and thunder are a possibility for Sunday evening.
However, the shows could still be cancelled later in the day, as the national show on the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam was last year.
The traditional pallet bonfires on the beach near Scheveningen were lit on Saturday evening because of the likelihood of bad weather.
Fireworks can only officially be set off from 6 pm on December 31 but the fire brigade have already been called out to deal with several incidents, including cars that had been set on fire.
In Limburg, a 36-year-old man was killed and a second person seriously injured in a firework-related incident. Police are now investigating exactly what happened.
Some 50 local authority areas in the Netherlands now back a national ban on fireworks, news agency ANP said earlier this month. Just 16 out of 342 local authorities have actually pressed ahead and banned them.
Councils that back a national ban say it would give them more options to make sure that people don’t continue to set off fireworks, as currently happens in cities such as Amsterdam where all but the smallest consumer fireworks have been banned.
“Local bans just cannot be policed,” supporters of a national ban told the news agency. In addition, a ban in a small village leads firework fans to move on to the next location. “As long as consumer fireworks can be sold and possession is not an offence then it will be impossible to police a local ban,” a spokesman for Terneuzen in Zeeland said.
Police unions have also called for a national ban because of the dangers emergency service workers face during the annual New Year firework frenzy as well as the impossibility of policing a patchwork of different rules in different areas.
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