There will be no New Year’s Eve bonfire party at the beaches of Hague in the Netherlands this year.
This announcement was made by the municipality on Tuesday evening. Measures put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 prompted the authorities to halt the issuance of permits for significant events. Hague’s mayor Jan van Zanen communicated this to the bonfire builders at Duindorp, Scheveningen, Laak, and Escamp.
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The bonfires lit during the 2018 and 2019 seasons were epic culminating in a shower of sparks over Scheveningen, even starting several small fires in other places. As per the new Dutch safety board guidelines, the fires must only occur within a permitted event area. Unfortunately, managing such a situation while abiding by all Covid-19 regulations and restrictions would be impossible.
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According to the mayor, even if the rules were relaxed later in the year, only a small number of people will be allowed to the venue. Preparation time for the builders and municipal authorities to manage and control the bonfires while factoring in safety is too thin. There is a lot of uncertainty and unacceptable financial risk on all parties involved.
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This is the second year that the Hague has not held its traditional New Year's bonfire. Last year interim mayor Johan Remkes announced an intention to scrap the bonfire over no evidence of a “demonstrably professional organization.” This only prompted some volunteers to organize a New Year’s bonfire behind the Scheveningen beach. At the end of the party, multiple fires were lit around the area prompting intervention from the police.
If the mayor’s directive remains, it will be the second year in a row the Hague won’t mark the New Year bonfires. To avoid a repeat of the last New year where police arrested over a dozen people on grounds of unrest and public disturbance, both the mayor and bonfire builders are urging for peace and calm.
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No New Year’s bonfire for the dutch at Den Haag
The Hague, Netherlands