The governing cabinet in the Netherlands plans to implement new limits on fireworks after this past New Year's period saw thousands of incidents requiring first responders. Millions of euros worth of damages to private personal property were estimated, with even more damage caused to commercial property.
A majority in the Amsterdam city council wants to implement a general ban on consumer fireworks in the city. The local faction of VVD announced its support on Wednesday. GroenLinks, PvdA, and PvdD previously announced their support. Together the four parties have 24 of the 45 seats in the city council, NU.nl reports.
The Amsterdam VVD said that it must "unfortunately" support a ban. "We are very disappointed by the misery [fireworks] cause. A small group of people are ruining it for the rest," the party said.
A total of 168 people injured one or both their eyes with fireworks this New Year's, around 30 more than the previous New Year's, according to the Dutch ophthalmic society NOG. 13 people blinded an eye, and five completely lost an eye, NOS reports
The number of patients with eye damaged caused by fireworks has been increasing since 2017, according to NOG. The majority, 65 percent, of victims were injured by legal fireworks. Almost half of the victims were injured by fireworks lit by someone else.
NOG therefor calls for a complete ban on consumer fireworks.
Rotterdam will be the first large Dutch city to completely ban consumer fireworks for the coming New Year. After the "umpteenth" incidents and violence this past New Year's, the VVD in Rotterdam decided to support the ban, which means that there is majority support in the city council to prohibit the lighting of consumer fireworks, NOS reports.
Lighting fireworks over New Year's is a tradition that needs to change, CDA Minister Hugo De Jonge of Public Health said on television program Jinek on RTL 4 on Monday. Earlier in the day it became clear that a majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, now supports a partial ban on consumers' fireworks.
Support for a nationwide ban on firecrackers and rockets is growing within the political parties, including within the coalition. Coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie called for such a ban. And two VVD mayors went against their party's position to call for such a ban, NOS reports.
Acting mayor Johan Remkes of The Hague argued for an "enforceable ban on firecrackers and rockets" for consumers on television program Buitenhof. And mayor Jan van Zanen of Utrecht asked the VVD to cooperate in a ban on all consumer fireworks.
A fundraiser was launched to support a 38-year-old mother and her 8-year-old daughter who were seriously injured in a fire in an apartment building in Arnhem on New Year's Day. The family's 39-year-old father Raymond and 4-year-old son Jelle were killed in the fire. At 9:30 a.m. on Monday, over 5 thousand euros had been donated.
A total of 1,300 people were injured by fireworks over New Year's, 7 percent more than the 2018/2019 New Year's period, according to figures from VeligheidNL. Brigitte Blatter from the safety organization called the increase worrying. "It therefore appears that the safety measures taken, such as banning certain fireworks or better information, have not helped," she said to NU.nl.
In total, 385 people ended up in emergency rooms after fireworks accidents. 900 people went to GP posts with minor injuries. Last year there were 396 emergency room visits and 800 GP post visits.
Damage to private property caused this past New Year's Eve in the Netherlands is expected to reach roughly 15 million euros, but the estimated value is expected rise higher when the extend of damage to commercial property is included. The cost estimate from the Dutch Association of Insurers, which does not include medical expenses due to fireworks-related injuries, is similar to figures released a year ago.
An Ede mortuary expressed anger and confusion on social media after a funeral procession it organized on New Year's Eve was pelted with exploding fireworks. The Gelderland city faced a string of disturbing New Year's incidents against aid workers, which the city's mayor, René Verhulst, said was "terrible and sickening."
The procession had just left the funeral home and was headed towards the cemetery with the funeral director walking in front of the hearse. It was right around noon when "young people shot fireworks at him and the hearse," the Van de Weerd mortuary said.
A massive 77 million euros worth of fireworks were sold in the Netherlands for New Year's Eve 2019, according to interest association Pyrotechnics Netherlands. That is 10 percent more than in 2010, and a new record, NU.nl reports.
The previous record of 74 million euros dated from 2008 and 2009.
The Eye Hospital in Rotterdam treated a total of 18 victims who sustained injuries to their eyes due to fireworks by 11:30 p.m. on New Year's Eve. According to the hospital, this was the busiest New Year's in years, NOS reports.
A total of 20 eyes were injured, including 10 that sustained permanent damage. None of the victims wore firework safety glasses, and most incidents involved legal fireworks. The youngest victim is 14 years old. The most other victims are in their 30s.
At midnight the Netherlands rang in 2020 with firework shows in Rotterdam and The Hague, where the thick fog cleared just in time. While Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said he feared a "wild west party" this New Year's, there were no major incidents. There were, however, a very large number of car fires, especially in The Hague region, and multiple incidents of aid workers and first responders being attacked or harassed, according to various Dutch media.
The New Year's Eve festivities are fast approaching, and while it is a fun time for most in the Netherlands, New Year's is a high-risk event for the police and other first responders, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said on Twitter. He called on everyone in the Netherlands to help make sure that this New Year's tradition is a festive and "especially safe" one for everyone.
Multiple neighborhoods in The Hague were restless on Monday night, the night before New Year's Eve. The police arrested a total of 19 people, on suspicion of throwing fireworks and arson, among other things, NOS reports.
A party was held on Dr. De Visserplein, organized by the volunteers behind the canceled New Year's bonfire on Scheveningen beach. When the party was over, multiple fires were set in the area and the police had to intervene. At around midnight, the police ordered everyone to leave the street and arrested those who refused.
The Netherlands is headed towards its second straight year of sales growth in legal fireworks, the Dutch Association of Pyrotechnics told Nu.nl. Sales have risen dramatically, with an expected turnover increase of ten percent, the association said.
Six people accused of were arrested Monday morning in The Hague, including one who was accused of setting off a heavy firework bomb underneath a police van. One of the seven police officers inside the van suffered permanent hearing damage from the December 3 explosion, police said on Monday.
Two people suffered serious injuries when fireworks were detonated near a football cage in Den Bosch. Police said a mortar grenade exploded in their faces.
"Then, with heavily bloodied faces, they finally managed to reach a home in the area and rang the doorbell. The residents were severely shocked and subsequently alerted 1-1-2," police said.
The two male victims are 32 years of age. One is from Berlicum, and the other is from Den Bosch. Both had facial injuries, and were taken to the Eye Hospital in Rotterdam, where they were to undergo an operation on Tuesday.
The police in Amersfoort arrested three protesters on Wednesday for throwing fireworks at motorcycle police officers. Two of the three officers involved had to be hospitalized with hearing problems. A fourth protester was arrested for hindering an ambulance, the police said.
The fireworks incident in Amersfoort happened at around 6:00 p.m. on Oude Lageweg. The officers were guiding protesting farmers and construction workers when fireworks were thrown at them from a passing van. The police immediately intervened and arrested three people from Amersfoort.
In a Christmas card sent to parliamentarians, police officers, enforcers and other aid workers called for a ban on firecrackers. First responders always face violence and aggression over New Year's, the first responders said. "We are there for the citizen when needed. Are you there for us?"
The police released a video of an incident in the Duindorp neighborhood of The Hague on December 3rd. Someone in a group of young people threw a firework bomb under a police van, which was in the area due to unrest after the annual New Year's bonfire was canceled. The police are looking for the perpetrators.
The blast severely damaged the police van. Fortunately, none of the seven police officers inside were injured, though some did report issues with their ears afterwards.
Wednesday night was again restless in parts of The Hague. The police arrested a total of four people for throwing fireworks, arson and insulting police officers. One was arrested in Scheveningen, three in the Escamp neighborhood, where large groups of young people were walking around, setting off fireworks, a police spokesperson said to NOS.
Police in the Netherlands made two separate stops that led to a combined discovery of over 2,700 kilograms of illegal fireworks. Roughly two thousand kilograms was found after a 29-year-old in Enschede was found carrying boxes of the explosives to his car.
The man was quickly detained, allowing police to open an investigation into how he obtained the fireworks. That led police to two separate locations where the illegal material was discovered.
For the third night in a row, the Duindorp neighborhood of The Hague was restless. Some 13 people were arrested for throwing stones, public violence and insult, a police spokesperson said to NU.nl. Footage on social media shows fireworks exploding near riot police officers. Calm returned around midnight.