Belgian border city closes streets overcrowded with Dutch fireworks tourists
The Belgian border town of Baarle-Hertog is intervening to curb the influx of Dutch fireworks buyers. The municipality will soon prevent outside vehicular traffic on two streets where many fireworks shops are located.
"It has just become too much," said mayor Frans De Bont on the Flemish broadcaster Radio 1. "The residents have totally had it." They are not only bothered by the endless procession of Dutch cars, but also by people urinating in public, and by fireworks boxes and packaging lying around, De Bont said.
Baarle-Hertog has "six fireworks shops, while there are only about three thousand inhabitants," according to the mayor. The village previously only received many Dutch fireworks enthusiasts in the last weeks of the year, but this time, according to the mayor, the influx started at the end of September.
In the Netherlands, fireworks may only be sold on the last three days of the year. The Dutch therefore shift their focus to Belgium, where this is allowed all year round.
Kapelstraat and Klokkenstraat will close from Friday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Only residents, suppliers, emergency services and cyclists will be allowed to pass.
De Bont has coordinated the road closures with its Dutch neighbor, Baarle-Nassau, because the streets run across both towns. The enclave municipality of Baarle-Hertog is completely surrounded by the Netherlands, and parts of Baarle-Nassau are also surrounded by Baarle-Hertog.
Reporting by ANP