Wednesday 27 January 2021

Breakaway cafes and bars say they will defy closure rules and reopen on January 17

Piles of chairs from a cafe terrace in Amsterdam. Photo:

Bars, cafes and restaurants in 50 towns and cities nationwide are planning to open their doors again on January 17, with or without government permission.

The Breda chapter of hospitality industry body Koninklijke Horeca Nederland on Wednesday published a press release claiming thousands of bars and cafes will reopen, although the national body KHN has not officially responded.

‘The financial necessity, the lack of future perspective and inconsistent government policy leave us no choice,’ the press release is quoted as saying by the Telegraaf. ‘We are going to open on January 17 under the strict KHN protocols and we are going to stay open.’

Cafes and bars have been shut for the past six weeks, when the government introduced a new partial lockdown and many are now facing bankruptcy, the organisation says.

Bar and cafe owners are particularly angry at the way health minister Hugo de Jonge said that the lockdown will last longer than mid January. ‘The careless way this was shared, and the lack of empathy for the entire hospitality industry has forced these 50 KHN branches to join forces and support this action,’ the statement said.

Without action, 50% of cafes and bars will go bust, the organisation said.

Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht cafes are not supporting the breakaway campaign.

De Jonge said on Wednesday afternoon he had sympathy for the industry but that without a real decline in new infections, there is little he can do. The cabinet is due to decide on December 8 whether limited opening hours may be possible over the Christmas break.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.