Maastricht mayor against closing borders to keep Belgian shoppers out
Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake of Maastricht does not think it is necessary to close the borders with Belgium to prevent shopping crowds in the Netherlands' border towns. "We experienced it from the other side here when Belgium closed its borders for us," she said on VRT Radio 1 program De Ochtend. "That is going too far for me. As mayor of a border town, it is not acceptable to me."
Over the weekend, cities like Eindhoven and Maastricht had many Belgian visitors as many Dutch stores were running Black Friday specials, while all the non-essential stores in Belgium were closed. Hubert Bruls, mayor of Nijmegen and chairman of the Security Council for the 25 Dutch security regions, said that the mayors on the council would be discussing measures against this on Monday.
But Penn-te Strake thinks extra measures are unnecessary. She believes the Netherlands can count on the Belgians' sense of responsibility. In addition, Belgium will reopen non-essential stores on Tuesday, albeit with some restrictions. "It makes a difference that stores in Belgium reopen on December 1. If everyone behaves sensibly, there will be no need for special regulations for Belgians and Germans,' Penn-te Strake said.