Amsterdam nightclubs risk €4,500 fine if they open on Saturday
Amsterdam nightclubs that participate in a protest against coronavirus policy by opening their doors on Saturday night risk a fine of 4,500 euros, Mayor Femke Halsema wrote in a letter to a hospitality sector lobbying organization. Individual clubs will receive a letter on Friday, which the city will count as a first warning.
Many Amsterdam clubs plan to open their doors on Saturday evening anyway, said Pieter de Kroon, the initiator of the campaign and chair of the Amsterdam nightclub organization OAC. They are not deterred by the impending penalty from the municipality, he said.
Halsema wrote that she understands the frustration, disappointment, and need for the nightclubs' standpoint. However, she emphasized that the city council will continue to adhere to the national coronavirus rules. "I urge you to comply with the rules, assuming that society will open up soon," said the mayor. "Then we can reopen the Amsterdam clubs in full glory. I'm counting on you."
In Amsterdam, multiple clubs have announced that they will participate in the action on Saturday evening, which they are using to draw attention to the long-term closure that nightlife is experiencing due to the coronavirus measures. Earlier it was announced that all tickets for the Amsterdam clubs that are participating have sold out. Between 20,000 and 25,000 tickets went on sale in total.
Anyone who opens the doors despite the mayor's warning can count on the penalty of 4,500 euros. She said that clubs also risk being closed. "I understand the mayor's position and that she must maintain it, but we hope that the municipality does not choose to immediately impose a fine on us," De Kroon said. "We still have not been offered enough perspective from The Hague. To be able to open again for an evening and to have a lot of happy people around us means a lot to us."
The risk of the fine had some clubs second-guessing their plans for this weekend. Eelko Anceaux of the Amsterdam club De Marktkantine said that some clubs were still considering the letter from the municipality on Thursday afternoon.
The protest was announced last week by the sector organization Nachtbelang and the Amsterdam Clubs Consultation (OAC). The initiators said they are tired of the fact that the Cabinet's plans to reopen society has yet to include nightlife. Clubs across the country also planned to join the campaign.
In the meantime, other municipalities across the country are also threatening fines, as a result of which several clubs have already withdrawn. Groningen, Maastricht, The Hague, and Haarlem said they will enforce the coronavirus measures.
De Kroon said that he finds it "ridiculous" that governments are going to enforce the ban. He expects that young people in cities without open clubs will go to illegal parties instead. "That's why it's so important that we reopen. We offer a protected environment," he said.
Reporting by ANP.