Extra supervision on Rotterdam sisha lounges after attack

Explosion at sisha lounge Villa Blanca on Schiedamseweg in Rotterdam, 1 Dec 2018
Explosion at sisha lounge Villa Blanca on Schiedamseweg in Rotterdam, 1 Dec 2018Photo: Politie

The municipality of Rotterdam placed the 43 sisha lounges in the city under stricter supervision, following complaints from residents and an explosion at a sisha lounge in Rotterdam West in December. Earlier this week the police announced that the explosion at Villa Blanca was an attack, NOS reports.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb permanently closed Villa Blanca after the explosion. "This was the straw that broke the camel's back. We are now acting", alderman Bert Wijbenga said to NOS about the attack.

The municipality is ordering extra inspections at sisha lounges, and will close businesses where many problems are found. The inspections will be performed by the municipality, the police, customs, and food and consumer product safety authority NVWA. In this way, Wijbenga wants to cover all aspects of the law. 

In a letter to the city council, Aboutaleb said that many sisha lounge customers leave immediately if there is an inspection. He therefore suspects that some sisha lounges serve as a meeting place for criminals. "If you are a good entrepreneur in sisha, there is no problem. But there are a lot of sisha lounges that are not good and have had the best time", Wijbenga said to the broadcaster.

Sander Fonseca, manager of a sisha lounge in the center of the city, calls it good that the bad apples in the sector are being tackled. But he questions the way in which inspections take place. "Last time they were doing preventative searching with us. All the customers had to go outside with their hands in the air. There are also tourists with us, they are not used to that and may not come back next time. Then the good business suffer under the bad."