Wednesday 01 February 2023

One dead, hundreds of arrests as the Netherlands celebrates New Year

A 51-year-old man died and dozens of people were injured in Tuesday night’s New Year celebrations in the Netherlands.

The man was killed at around 18.30 after his own fireworks exploded, according to media reports. The circumstances surrounding his death are still being investigated.

Eye specialists say they treated at least 46 people for serious damage and at least eight people have lost an eye because of firework injuries.

Rotterdam doctor Tjeerd de Faber told Nos television legal fireworks are to blame for most of the injuries and in more than half the cases the victims lit the fireworks themselves.

Several people have also lost hands because of firework accidents.

Car fires

In the Rotterdam region, at least 70 people were arrested for violence and arson, and the fire brigade was called out 1,227 times. The fire brigade put out 45 fires in buildings and houses and 19 cars were set ablaze, according to Nos television.

In nearby Schiedam, firemen were pelted with fireworks as they tried to put out a fire.

In The Hague region, at least 69 cars were destroyed by deliberate fires, according to local broadcaster Omroep West.

Riot police

In Utrecht, there were at least 89 arrests and police and firemen came under attack several times, local broadcaster RTV West said. Dozens of cars were also set on fire.

In Enschede, 30 people were arrested for throwing bottles and fireworks at police.

In Gelderland, at least 79 people were arrested for arson and attacking emergency service workers, RTL news said. Riot police were brought in to break up a gang of 80 people throwing bottles and fireworks in the village of Waardenburg, where there were 20 arrests.


In Amsterdam, where it rained all evening, early reports said there were few serious incidents and no major injuries. Four people were hospitalised after drinking too much.

The Dutch insurers association VvV said initial reports indicated damage to cars and property appears to be down on 2013, when the total reached over €10m.

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