No New Year's bonfires in Den Haag this year
The traditional New Year's bonfires on the beaches in The Hague will not happen this year, the municipality announced on Tuesday evening. Due to the measures in place against the spread of the coronavirus, the municipality cannot issue a permit for the events, mayor Jan van Zanen personally informed the builders of the bonfires in Scheveningen, Duindorp, Escamp, and Laak. "This is a huge downer for everyone, he said, NU.nl reports.
After the bonfires in Scheveningen and Duindorp got too big during the 2018/2019 New Year's, resulting in a sea of sparks over Scheveningen and multiple small fires starting, the Dutch Safety Board said that these bonfires can only take place with an event permit. But that is impossible this year, due to the coronavirus, Van Zanen said.
"The bonfires in this new form deserve a fair chance. Even with a possible lightening of the coronavirus measures later this year, it is likely that only a very small number of people will be allowed on the event site and the preparation time for both builders and municipality will be too short to be able to organize bonfires in a pleasant and safe way," the mayor said. "In addition, it creates too much uncertainty and unacceptable (financial) risks for all parties and the chance of a large influx of interested parties is too great."
This is the second year in a row that The Hague will not have its traditional New Year's bonfires. The municipality's decision to ban the bonfires last year resulted in unrest and disturbances in Duindorp for days, during which the police arrested dozens of people. The mayor and builders of the bonfires therefore now called on locals to maintain calm and peace, both before and during New Year's.