The 21 thousand cops who have to work this New Year's will be equipped with earplugs to protect their hearing against firecrackers and other fireworks. As the government is refusing to respond to the plea of the police, dozens of other civil society organizations, doctors and many municipalities to ban firecrackers over New Year's, the National Police will take other measures, chief Erik Akerboom said, NU.nl reports.
The police, Dutch mayors and various large companies issued a joint call on the Dutch government to ban firecrackers and rockets. They want to uphold the tradition of lighting your own fireworks over New Year's, but only with "safe decorative fireworks", they said in a full-page advertisement that will soon appear in national newspapers, RTL Nieuws reports.
Police officers faced much more violence aimed against them over New Year's than the official figures show, the police's Central Works Council said after extensive investigation. Of the over 3,400 police officers that participated in the council's survey, 326 said they were confronted with one or more forms of violence, ranging from verbal threats to physical violence, ANP reports.
The 31-year-old brother of murdered rapper Feis woke up from his coma, the police announced. The man was seriously injured during the early morning hours of New Year's day in a shooting that left his brother dead.
Mayor Annemiek Jetten of Vlaardingen received multiple threats, including death threats. The mayor filed six police reports at the end of last year - four times for insult, two times for threats, RTV Rijnmond reports.
Why the mayor was threatened, and by whom, is still under investigation. The threats may be connected to the decision to ban traditional New Year's fires in the municipality, according to the broadcaster. This decision resulted in a flood of criticism on the city government, and the mayor specifically.
There were slightly fewer incidents of violence against police officers this past New Year's than a year ago, according to definitive figures from the police requested by data platform LocalFocus. The preliminary figures showed a completely different picture, saying the violent incidents against cops doubled, NU.nl reports.
People in the Netherlands spent a total of 70 million euros on fireworks this New Year's, 2 million euros more than the previous two years, according to the Dutch Association of Pyrotechnics, ANP reports.
The most money was spent on so-called compound fireworks - linked ornamental fireworks that needs to be lit only once to give a small fireworks show. Firecrackers were the most popular firework this year.
Multiple fires started in buildings and the dunes in Scheveningen after the wind blew sparks from the New Year's bonfires over the town. The fire department has the fires under control, NU.nl reports.
Photos and videos on social media show whirlwinds with sparks in them. As the wind was blowing from the beach towards Scheveningen, this caused a dangerous situation.
Two people died during the Netherlands' New Year's celebrations last night. A man was killed in an explosion in Enschede. And in the Friesland town of Morra, a person was killed in a fireworks incident, according to the police.
The police responded to Gerstraat in Enschede shortly after midnight. At the scene they found a deceased man. "He likely died as a result of a fireworks explosion", the Enschede police said on Twitter. The police are investigating and call on witnesses to come forward.
The Public Prosecution Service will take harsh action against misbehavior and misconduct during New Year's. The Prosecutor considers New Year's as an event, which means that sentence demands can be 75 percent higher, the Telegraaf reports.
People caught being aggressive or violent towards police officers, firefighters or paramedics could face sentences up to 200 percent, the Prosecutor said. First responders keep the Netherlands safe and they must be able to do their jobs without interference, according to the Public Prosecutor.
NS is calling on Dutch municipalities to implement firework-free zones along and around the railways next New Year's. Fireworks thrown against a window can give a train driver a considerable shock, which in combination with damages caused, can disrupt train traffic, NS said, NOS reports.
If it is up to the police, enforcement officers will not be armed. The police want to cooperate more and better with enforcement officers, but "the monopoly on using force, that remains with the police as far as the police are concerned", National Police Chief Erik Akerboom wrote in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, RTL Nieuws reports.
At least 13 large municipalities and a number of smaller ones will be experimenting with voluntary firework-free zones this New Year's, the Volkskrant reports after speaking with the 44 largest municipalities in the Netherlands.
The municipality provides signboards for such firework-free zones, but not enforcements. Local residents can apply for a firework-free zone, and it is up to them to enforce it. The mayors hope to reduce fireworks nuisance without incurring high costs in this way, according to the newspaper.
The enthusiasm for lighting fireworks over New Year's is decreasing among young Dutch people. Some 32 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds will probably light fireworks this coming New Year's, compared to 45 percent last year, according to an online survey by I&O Research among over 3 thousand people, NU.nl reports.
Municipal enforcers are very concerned about New Year's and the increasing number of firework-free zones they have to enforce, without means to defend themselves if they are in trouble. "This can easily go wrong", Eric Lakeman of the Dutch enforcers' union NBB said to newspaper AD.
In the Netherlands enforcers are rarely equipped with batons. This means that they have to make sure no one light fireworks in areas they are not allowed to completely unarmed. The NBB pleads for all enforcers to be equipped with batons, pepper spray and bodycams before New Year's.
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.
Lighting fireworks everywhere in Amsterdam will be banned from 2019/2020 New Year's. Just like in Rotterdam, the Dutch capital will designate zones where individuals can light fireworks, the rest of Amsterdam will be fireworks-free, mayor Femke Halsema wrote in a letter to the city council on Thursday afternoon, Het Parool reports.
The police want to oblige people caught with illegal fireworks throughout the year to report to the police over New Year's, in an effort to improve the safety of police officers and other emergency workers. Every New Year's there are incidents in which first responders are pelted with fireworks. The police reason that people can't throw illegal fireworks if they have to report to the police over New Year's, NOS reports.
Instead of declaring certain areas in the city firework-free over New Year's, Rotterdam wants to designate areas where fireworks can be lit this year. The city plans to have 35 designated firework zones, NOS reports.
According to mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, it will still be possible for many Rotterdam residents to light fireworks in their neighborhoods. "With the introduction of fireworks zones in our city, we hope to significantly reduce the nuisance and the efforts of our emergency services. At the same time Rotterdam residents who want to can still light fireworks", he said.
Dutch municipalities will get the possibility to ban fireworks over New Year's. A majority in parliament supports this plan, and the government can live with such a local fireworks ban, turned out during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday evening, ANP reports.
The Dutch government will not implement a general ban on firecrackers and firework rockets over New Year's because the cabinet considers this measure too far-reaching, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security and State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure and Water Management wrote in a letter to parliament, ANP reports.
Dutch municipalities may soon be able to ban fireworks completely, instead of only implementing firework-free zones in the municipality over New Year's. Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security is considering this measure, AD reports based on sources in the coalition.
It seems unlikely that a plan to ban firecrackers before New Year's will be implemented. A majority in parliament is against the plan, doubting how effective it will be in reducing the number of fireworks incidents in the Netherlands every New Year's, NOS reports after speaking with sources around the government.