95 percent of Netherlands residents are in favor of harsher punishments for violence against police officers and other first responders during New Year's. 78 percent agree that fireworks should be banned next year in neighborhoods where aid workers are threatened. And 72 percent agree that fireworks should be banned in municipalities where the police cannot guarantee safety, according to a study by I&O Research on behalf of Binnelands Bestuur.
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.
The police are worried about enforcing local firework bans over New Year's and doubt whether these bans contribute to safety, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said in a letter to parliament. "Maintaining public order is becoming a lot more complex for my people", he said in the letter, the Telegraf reports.
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.
On Friday the Dutch government will announce a nationwide ban on the strongest consumer fireworks - fireworks that fall in the so-called third category like strips and rolls of firecrackers, sources in The Hague told broadcaster NOS. Both the fireworks sector and the police are dissatisfied with the ban.
The ban will take effect from New Year's 2020-2021, according to the broadcaster. Category three fireworks, which form only a small share of the Dutch market, are already banned in Belgium and Germany.
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.
Rotterdam is introducing a limited fireworks ban from this New Year's. Neighborhoods where things got out of hand and there were firework related incidents in the past, will be banned from lighting fireworks on New Year's. While quiet neighborhoods will still be allowed to do so, the city council decided on Thursday night, RTV Rijnmond reports.
The Dutch association for trauma surgery NVT register 90 fireworks injuries this New Year's, five fewer than last year. The 90 patients include 32 children, 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.
The Eye Hospital in Rotterdam treated eight people with fireworks injuries over New Year's. About half of the injuries caused permanent damage, the hospital announced, NU.nl reports.
The number of victims is about the same as last New Year's, though the injuries are somewhat more serious than in previous years, doctor Tjeerd de Faber said to the newspaper. The youngest victim is 15 years old.
"The most injuries were caused by legal fireworks. Half of the victims were bystanders and were hit by flying fireworks", Faber said.
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.
Nearly all the people who were injured by fireworks last New Year's were boys of an average age of 15 years, Erasmus MC reports on the basis of 63 victims admitted to 12 hospitals in the southwest of the Netherlands over New Year's. Most of the victims were injured by firecrackers, AD reports.
The hospitals collected data from 54 of the patients, including the type of injury, how it happened and the treatment. Almost half of the injured were bystanders and 22 percent were hurt by illegal fireworks. 50 of the 54 injuries were caused by firecrackers.
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.
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.
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.
At midnight the Netherlands welcomed 2018. Thousands of people attended firework shows in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague, despite the rainy and windy weather. A few fireworks shows had to be canceled due to the weather conditions, NU.nl reports.
The National Fireworks show on and around the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam continued without too many adjustments, according to the newspaper. An estimated 60 thousand people came to watch the fireworks.
Coalition party ChristenUnie supports banning banger- and rocket fireworks in the Netherlands. The Christian party is the first government party to give an opinion on the Dutch Safety Board's advice to do so, RTL Nieuws reports.
This New Year's there will be a fireworks show especially for children in Rotterdam, the organizers of the National Fireworks at the Erasmus Bridge announced. The Kids Fireworks will be held on a pontoon at the bridge between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on New Years Eve, ANP reports.
The mayors of the four large Dutch cities asked the Dutch Safety Board to investigate safety during New Year's, paying particular attention to the use of fireworks, AD reports. "The precise investigation and approach have yet to be determined", a spokesperson for the Safety Board said to the newspaper. "This will become clear within weeks."
A total of 473 people were treated for firework injuries in the nearly 90 emergency departments in Dutch hospitals over New Year's, according to research done by NOS and VeiligheidNL. That is slightly less than the 480 people treated for fireworks injuries last year.
The decrease in fireworks injuries was much smaller this year than in the previous two years. In both 2015 and 2016 there was a 14 percent decrease, according to the broadcaster.