Scheveningen builders claim not to know about New Year's bonfire agreements

Preparations for the New Year's bonfire on Scheveningen beach, 31 Dec 2017
Preparations for the New Year's bonfire on Scheveningen beach, 31 Dec 2017Photo: Maurits Verbiest/Wikimedia Commons

The builders of the bonfire in Scheveningen was surprised by the municipality of The Hague releasing the covenant regarding the New Year's bonfires on Tuesday. According to the builders, they did not know that mayor Pauline Krikke would release the covenant, and also were not aware of the content thereof, AD reports.

The covenant, which dates from 2016, states that the authorities must intervene if the builders violate the rules. "The covenant becomes more precise every year", Krikke said on television program De Hofbar. "This can be seen in the new rules that we add every year." Yet the covenant was last signed in 2016.

"I just feel that something is not right", Ab Massa of the organization Scheveningen Vreugdevuur said in response. "We didn't see the covenant in advance. I saw it for the first time last night. In addition, for the whole year this was never discussed during meetings with the municipality."

Builder Dennis Rog also said that he never saw the covenant before. "If you put a signature in 2016, it will be about the year 2016/2017", he said, according to the newspaper. "Then you have to draw up a new covenant each year that you have to sign so that you're up-to-date."

The rules around the dimensions of the New Year's bonfires have changed since 2016, according to the builders. "The only agreements that the builders have clear information about is that it can be up to 10,000 cubic meters and that the width can be 22 meters. That was for this year. But nothing was said about the maximum height."

According to the covenant, the bonfire towers may not exceed a height of 35 meters. But the Scheveningen bonfire at least was built up to 48 meters this past New Year's, according to 

A tornado of sparks from the Scheveningen bonfire blew across Scheveningen over New Year's, causing multiple fires. At the request of The Hague mayor Pauline Krikke, the Dutch Safety Board is investigating the preparation of the bonfire and the problems that arose after lighting it. The results are expected in the autumn.