Duindorp cancels New Year's bonfires

Scheveningen New Year's bonfire in the making (Photo: Vreugdevuur Scheveningen/Facebook)Scheveningen New Year's bonfire in the making (Photo: Vreugdevuur Scheveningen/Facebook)

The organization behind the New Year's bonfire on the Duindorp beach in The Hague decided to pull the plug on the event. They no longer have any faith in the municipality of The Hague, the organizers announced on Friday, NU.nl reports.

On Thursday evening the municipality of The Hague met with the organizations behind the annual bonfires on the beaches of Duindorp and Scheveningen. The municipality said that a final decision on whether the events would be granted permits would be made on December 3rd. 

But the Duindorp organizers decided not to wait for that. It has become clear to the organization that the municipality of The Hague "after its own failures in recent years, this year wants to have a 0.0 percent share in the realization of this and actually wants to scrap the whole thing out of the Hague street scene", the organization said. 

Earlier this week, acting mayor Johan Remkes said in a letter to the city council that the New Year's bonfires would "very likely" not continue due to the lack of a professional organization.

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 are 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.