Firework bans ignored as the Netherlands celebrates New Year

Electric fireworks in Amsterdam. Photo: Sem van de Waal ANP

The Netherlands saw in the New Year with champagne and fireworks but at least two people have died and the police were pelted with fireworks in several places. At least 18 people have already reported to the specialist eye hospital in Rotterdam with firework-related injuries.

Fireworks were banned in 16 towns and cities but the bans were widely ignored everywhere, including in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. One man was killed in Haarlem in an accident involving fireworks but police are still looking into what happened.

In the Groningen village of Bedum, the fire brigade had fireworks thrown at them and in the Vlijt, riot police were drafted in to “create a safe situation” after a large building scheduled for demolition was set on fire.

Also in Groningen, in the village of Midwolda, cars were damaged and windows broken after an explosion thought to be caused by highly dangerous fireworks which are banned in the Netherlands.

There were similar problems in the Frisian villages of Kollumerzwaag, Tzummarum and Marrum, local media reported.

In Den Bosch a young child was seriously injured in a fire on a balcony, also thought to have been caused by fireworks.

In The Hague a police car was destroyed by fire when it was left unattended by police officers. Cars were also torched in Vlaardingen, Schiedam and Barendrecht.

In Capelle aan den IJssel one person was shot dead at around 6.20 am after a fight broke out at a party. The victim was reportedly shot while in his car, local broadcaster Rijnmond said. No-one has yet been arrested.

In Delft a shop on the Griegstraat was destroyed in a fire caused by heavy fireworks and police officers were pelted with fireworks. Riot police were brought in for a time to restore order, reported.

Riot police were also drafted in to Alphen aan den Rijn to protect firemen who were trying to put out a bonfire. In Amsterdam police also had to deal with several incidents in the west and east of the city and made several arrests. In Rotterdam several people were stabbed in different incidents.

Eye injuries

Of the 18 people to go to the specialist eye hospital in Rotterdam so far, two are children and most were bystanders watching fireworks.

“It is the same song as every year,” eye surgeon Tjeerd de Faber told Nos radio. “We’ve done one operation and we have five to do. These are people who will have problems for the rest of their lives.”

In Veen, in Brabant, several cars were set on fire, according to news agency ANP. Village youngsters set cars destined to be scrapped on fire every year. Some 500 people turned out to view the spectacle, ANP said.

Watch the NOS compilation of how the Netherlands celebrated

More to follow  

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