The Dutch government has reached a deal to outlaw firecrackers and sky rockets, government sources told broadcaster NOS and website NU.nl. The prohibition will take effect before the upcoming New Year's period, and could potentially be in line with recommendations issued by the Dutch Safety Board in 2017.
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.
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.
The Netherlands' tradition of letting consumers light fireworks over New Year's has the Dutch population properly divided. The majority of Dutch men want to keep this tradition, while the majority of Dutch women are in favor of fireworks bans, according to a survey newspaper AD conducted among over 157 thousand people.
According to the newspaper, 65 percent of all men are against a fireworks ban in their municipality, while 61 percent of women are for such a ban.
The annual hotline for reporting fireworks problems opened on Christmas day. By 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, over 2,500 complaints were received.
The hotline is an initiative by 30 local GroenLinks factions, including those in Rotterdam, The Hague and Groningen. The hotline was first launched six years ago. GroenLinks uses complaints received to map areas where fireworks cause the most problems, and to support their call for banning consumer fireworks.
The municipality of Hilversum is allowed to ban the lighting of fireworks in part of the city center over New Year's, the Council of State ruled on Wednesday. This ruling by the highest court in the Netherlands means that no further appeals are possible, NU.nl reports.
The administrative court in Hilversum ruled that the mayor and aldermen can ban fireworks from the city center this year. Mayor Pieter Broertjes is very happy with the ruling.
On Thursday the fire department and the police will be pleading for a fireworks ban in the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament.
Alkmaar Mayor Piet Bruinooge (CDA) is calling on the government for a general fireworks ban. "For me it is over and out with the fireworks", he said to NOS.
The court in Utrecht ruled that fireworks may be fired in the center of Hilversum this year. According to the court, the municipality made a procedural error when setting up the fireworks ban.
Fireworks vendors will no longer sell “baby rocket”, small fireworks that are popular with children because they are cheap.
The four major cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and The Hague, want to limit the time in which fireworks may be sold and set off. They addressed the issue with Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice in a joint letter, according to De Telegraaf.