Amsterdam bans fireworks for consumers on New Year’s Eve, predicts Museumplein to be “spectacular”

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New Year’s fireworks in Amsterdam. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Amsterdam is pursuing plans to ban consumer fireworks during New Year’s Eve festivities, but officials admit that it would be “unrealistic” to imagine the city would be without them.

The aim is to “phase out” the current tradition by “offering alternatives and using a variety of methods to counter the use of consumer fireworks,” Mayor Femke Halsema told a briefing to the public. Councillors.

“The first year of the local fireworks ban should be seen as a year of transition,” Halsema said. Research shows that 77% of Amsterdam residents consider it important to reduce the nuisance caused by fireworks and 89% never start them anyway.

City councilors voted for a ban in April last year, but the idea was scrapped due to the inability to maintain police during the pandemic. Local regulations have now been changed to prohibit the use of fireworks, although consumers can still purchase them from licensed sellers.

The city is organizing a “spectacular” on the Museumplein, in collaboration with the festival organizers and “the club scene” which will end with a fireworks display at midnight and a performance by a “really top actor”. Officials hope the event will attract 10,000 people – as long as coronavirus measures allow.

The city’s borough councils will also organize local and professional fireworks shows, Halsema said in his briefing.

City officials will decide in November whether the coronavirus situation is good enough to allow events to unfold.

Other cities

Amsterdam is the third of the major Dutch cities to ban fireworks. Rotterdam and Nijmegen have already announced that they will ban consumer fireworks altogether, while Utrecht will do so next year.

The Hague, Breda, Tilburg, Almere and Groningen will still allow consumers to set off fireworks, but will also increase the number of fireworks-free zones, Nu.nl said.

Eindhoven has not yet made a decision.

A nationwide ban on the sale of more dangerous fireworks, including firecrackers and rockets, was introduced last year, and new restrictions have also been imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Injuries

Nonetheless, the ban was widely flouted, and hundreds of people were injured and dozens of cars set on fire. However, police and emergency services have been called about 30% fewer times than during “normal” New Year’s celebrations, officials said.

Last year’s New Year’s fireworks ban also resulted in a 70% drop in fireworks-related injuries.

Despite the bans, the pyrotechnics industry expects this year’s sales to return to 2019 levels, when consumers spent € 77 million on fireworks.

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