Amsterdam to only allow fireworks in special zones from next year

Lighting fireworks everywhere in Amsterdam will be banned from 2019/2020 New Year's. Just like in Rotterdam, the Dutch capital will designate zones where individuals can light fireworks, the rest of Amsterdam will be fireworks-free, mayor Femke Halsema wrote in a letter to the city council on Thursday afternoon, Het Parool reports.

For the coming New Year's, the number of firework-free zones in the city will be expanded. In addition to the existing 45 zones, located mainly around animal shelters and petting zoos, fireworks will also be banned around hospitals this year. Halsema will also give Amsterdam residents the opportunity to arrange firework-free zones themselves in consultation with their neighbors. The municipality will help by making signs available, but there will be no municipal enforcement in these areas. Instead the municipality relies on "the power of the mutual agreement".

Next year the approach will be reversed and Amsterdam will have designated fireworks lighting zones, instead of firework-free zones. "From the New Year's of 2019/2020, the city government wants to take a different approach to fireworks", Halsema wrote. "No longer will it be permissible to light fireworks everywhere unless otherwise specified (firework-free zones), but fireworks will only be allowed to be lit at specifically designated places."

This initiative was brought forward by animal party PvdD, and received ample support in the city council. PvdD city councilor Johnas van Lammeren suggested that locations like the Havengebied and the NDSM terrain may be suitable as fireworks lighting zones. But Halsema first wants to investigate "how the Amsterdammer is looking at New Year's and fireworks", before picking these locations. Research agency OIS was therefore tasked with organizing a poll in the coming year. "Fireworks are a valuable part of the celebration of New Year's Eve for part of the population."

The municipality is also considering increasing the number of fireworks shows. This year there will be one fireworks show on Kop van Java after the countdown to midnight. At the request of Van Lammeren and the PvdD, as environmentally friendly as possible fireworks will be used.