One thing is sure: every year on the morning of December 31st war seems to break out in the Netherlands. Between 10.00 and 02.00 hours on the last day of the year it is allowed to use fireworks in the Netherlands. And, as there are many Dutch who fancy this activity, the bombing is guaranteed. It is the one day I really do not like to leave the house because there are especially boys everywhere using all kind of fireworks, often wasting also the beautiful ones which can hardly be seen in daylight and to me this is a pretty hostile atmosphere 🙂
At the end of every year, fireworks are a big topic in the Netherlands. Many Dutch are fond of the tradition of fireworks for New Year’s Eve. As the laws concerning them are very strict (fireworks can only be sold in the last 3 days of the year, they can only be used between the hours I mentioned above, the quantities which one person can purchase are limited), there are always problems as people want to be able to stock up on time or they want heavier fireworks, which may not be sold in the Netherlands, but are available at a convenient distance, over the border in Belgium, where they also can be bought all year long and where they are cheaper, so many Dutch are tempted to buy the fireworks from the neighbours. Another problem is given by the Dutch who cannot wait and thus do not respect the period when it is permitted to fire them, so already around Christmas some of them start with the fireworks, which displeases many people. Especially for this last category of Dutch, this year a site has been opened where people can complain about fireworks. It had such a huge success that it was blocked several times by the high amount of simultaneous visitors. It seems that more than 1,000 complaints were registred every hour and in the mean time the total is around 50,000. At the end, after January 1st, the complaints will become an argument for the left-wing party who would like to see the fireworks being used by private persons forbidden. An inquiry showed that more than half of the Dutch would agree with this prohibition.
In order for you to understand how serious the Dutch are about fireworks, last year around 70 million euros were spent on them (the Netherlands has about 16 million inhabitants). This year there are less people buying fireworks, but the average amount spent on them has grown from 45 to 47 euros.
Other problems caused by fireworks are given by the fact that they are dangerous, not only for people (because they can explode unexpectedly or can fall over), but also for windows, bus stops, post boxes which are adapted these days so that only normal sized envelopes can be inserted. Also, the fireworks are air polluting, causing problems for people with asthma or other health issues, who are advised to stay inside on January 1st.
I don’t know how it is where you are, but I hope it is more quite and that there are beautiful fireworks for you to watch around midnight.
Happy New Year!
Last photo © Jack Vehoeven, these are fireworks behind our house, as well as in the other pic..