Drenthe city cancels Christmas party after Berlin tragedy

Kerkplein in Meppel
Kerkplein in MeppelWeefemwe / Wikimedia Commons

A major Christmas celebration of eight schools was canceled in Meppel, Drenthe on Thursday. An attack on the Christmas market in Berlin on Monday played a big role in the decision to cancel the event, school director Herman Langhorst said to De Stentor. The organizers fear that panic would have overrun the visitors.

About 3 thousand children and parents were expected to attend the event. Because of the large number of people and the fear caused by the attack in Berlin, the organizers decided to meet with the municipality and cancel the event "Based on this discussion, the organization made the careful consideration not to go through with the event. I understand this, for it was not an easy decision." Mayor Richard Korteland said to the newspaper. He emphasized that there is "no question of an acute terrorist threat" in Meppel.

The decision to cancel the event led to anger among residents. Most believe that "fear" had nothing to do with the cancelation. Jan Allard Wieken, involved at invent office Xodus, thinks that the event was canceled because 3 thousand people would not fit on the square. "I understand the cancelation: three thousand people in two sessions on the square is scary. So many won't fit. But be honest and say: it won't work. And don't sow fear for something that isn't there." he said to Dagblad van het Noorden.

According to Sieb van der Weert, president of the foundation De Grote Trek, which promoted the event for the organizers, the event was canceled for another reason. "the money is simply done. We have a joint annual budget for Sunday markets, fairs, Sinterklaas and the decoration of the city, such as lighting And if the pot is empty, its empty." he said to the newspaper.

Former city councilor Anis Jadib expressed his dissatisfaction on Facebook. "Seriously, I am a Moroccan Dutch Muslim brother. Just go on as normal, you live in Meppel together. Show that you as society hve character and do not let yourself be intimidated. We should be ashamed of our behavior in Meppel. Do not sit in a corner crying, go on as usual."