New Year's bonfires in The Hague "very likely" scrapped

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 New Year's bonfires on the beaches of Sceveningen and Duindorp in The Hague will likely not happen in the coming years because there is "no evidence of a demonstrably professional organization", interim mayor Johan Remkes said. The organizers of the two annual bonfires are also unable to get insurance - no one wants to insure them after last year's rain of sparks, RTL Nieuws reports.

The tradition of the bonfires will therefore "very likely not continue", Remkes said, according to the broadcaster. But he and the aldermen are still committed to ensuring a "safe and festive New Year's". 

The bonfire tradition was originally created to prevent disturbances in The Hague around New Year's. In the run-up to New Year's large wooden structures are built on Scheveningen beach and Duindorp beach, which lit at the stroke of midnight. It is often a competition between the organizers of the two bonfires, to see who can build their tower the highest the fastest. 

Last year both fire towers were built significantly higher than agreed with the municipality. That, combined with a strong wind, resulted in a sea of sparks blowing from the Scheveningen bonfire across the district, causing multiple small fires. 

Because of last year's problems, the municipality of The Hague decided to be much stricter with the bonfires this year. The organizers must apply for permits for the events. And the fire towers may not exceed 10 by 10 by 10 meters.