Most NL residents want a clear, national New Year's fireworks policy; 61% support ban
Most Netherlands residents (55 percent) want a clear, national policy for fireworks over New Year’s. They call leaving it up to the municipalities to decide whether or not to ban fireworks a half-hearted solution, EenVandaag reports after surveying 26,000 members of its opinion panel.
Over the past two New Year’s, the Netherlands had a nationwide ban on consumer fireworks for New Year’s due to the coronavirus pandemic. The government wanted to avoid saddling already over-burdened hospitals with extra patients due to fireworks-related injuries. 61 percent of Netherlands residents want such a ban to become permanent, citing scared animals, injuries, damage, and unnecessary pollution as reasons to do so.
“We’ve gotten used to it now, a good time to definitely introduce a ban,” one respondent said. Another stressed that the ban must be nationwide to have the desired effect. “Otherwise, you will get fireworks tourism to municipalities without a ban. That will be a mess and cannot be enforced.”
A third of respondents are against a ban. For them, fireworks on New Year’s are a beautiful tradition they want to keep alive. “I see how my grandsons love the fireworks; as long as it’s safe, I don’t think it’s a problem,” one respondent said.
The association of Dutch municipalities VNG wants the Cabinet to come up with a uniform vision of what New Year’s should look like. “How do we ensure together that we can make this a fun party for everyone? That is important. It is the total picture, that dot on the horizon, which we believe is missing nationally,” mayor Liesbeth Spies told EenVandaag on behalf of the VNG.
Two-thirds of mayors want a national fireworks ban. According to them, consumers’ freedom to set off fireworks no longer outweighs the damage it causes.
The VNG is willing to support a total ban under certain conditions, including that it must be enforceable. According to the association, that is the current problem with local fireworks bans. The VNG also wants agreements with Belgium and Germany so that Netherlands residents can’t buy fireworks there and light them in the Netherlands.