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.
Henk Wolters, 52-year-old man who was shot dead on Buitengasthuisstraat in Zwolle on New Year's Eve, was shot as he walked home from a party, the police revealed on Opsporing Verzocht. The dying man was found over an hour after the police believe he was shot.
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.
Two boys arrested on suspicion of setting a fatal fire in the entryway of an Arnhem apartment building were released from pre-trial custody by a magistrate in Gelderland. The magistrate said that while there was sufficient evidence linking the 12 and 13 year old to the fire, their "personal circumstances" must also be taken into account.
The health condition of a 36-year-old mother and her 8-year-old daughter, both critically injured in an Arnhem apartment fire, was improving, with both still dealing with serious injuries that were no longer considered life threatening. Two other family members were killed in the fire, the father, 39, and their son, 4.
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.
Firefighters in the Netherlands responded to 4,340 reported incidents between New Year's Eve and the beginning of New Year's Day. The number corresponds to nearly a three percent increase over the same period last year, though 14 of the 25 emergency services regions showed a decrease.
Two pre-teen boys were being held by police Wednesday afternoon in connection with a fire in Arnhem that left two members of a family dead, and two other family members critically injured. Fireworks were being investigated as the cause of the fatal blaze based on security camera footage recovered at the scene, police said.
Police took the two boys, aged 12 and 13, into custody, police said on social media. They are being held on suspicion of causing a fatal arson.
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 main prize of the New Year's Eve draw of the State Lottery went to two lottery tickets purchased in Krommenie in Noord-Holland and in Enschede in Overijssel. Both lucky winners will soon have 15 million euros, tax free, in their bank accounts, NU.nl reports.
The identities of the winners were not disclosed. The winning ticket number is GI 59458.
A total of 6.3 million New Year's lottery tickets were sold, including a massive 1 million in the last minute of 2019.
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.
A man and a 4-year-old boy were killed in a fire in an apartment building in Arnhem early on New Year's morning. A woman and girl were seriously injured, the Gelderland police said on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
The fire started in the entrance hall of the building on Gelderseplein at around 1:00 a.m. The two adults and two children were found in the elevator. Whether it involves a family, is not yet clear.
Extremely thick fog that caused many problems on Dutch roads throughout New Year's Eve is still present in large parts of the Netherlands. Meteorological institute KNMI currently has a code yellow warning in place for the entire country except Zeeland, warning that visibility may be reduced to less than 200 meters in some places.
"Dangerous driving conditions due to poor visibility," KNMI warned. Road users are advised to drive slowly and keep a safe following distance. "Follow weather reports and warnings."
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.