Nightclubs in the Netherlands are to throw open their doors next weekend in protest at the mandatory 10pm curfew imposed on the sector.
The De Nacht Staat Op (The Night Rises) campaign will launch on Saturday 12 February, with at least 24 nightspots in Amsterdam set to take part alongside clubs in Rotterdam, Utrecht, Haarlem and Groningen.
“Everyone deserves the night to get to know, or be themselves. If you don’t see that, you’re sleeping,” says spokesperson Joost Gimbel on Instagram. “That’s why the night rises to wake up the government and everyone again.”
While indoor live events were given the green light to resume in the country last week, several club owners have deemed the rules – which also include a 1,250 capacity limit in addition to the curfew – unworkable, prompting the latest course of action.
De Nacht has received the backing of Unmute Us, the Dutch event industry campaign group behind mass protest marches last August and September. The first march, which involved around 2,000 event organisers including Lowlands, Mysteryland and Paaspop, saw 70,000 people protest the “arbitrary, incomprehensible and unjust” event restrictions in what was the largest demonstration in the Netherlands since 2004.
“A long-term plan is discussed time and again, but this perspective is still not offered and we have been living from press conference to press conference for over two years now,” says Stijn Ceelen of ZeeZout Festival. “This is an unworkable situation that may no longer be necessary at this point in the pandemic.”
“THE ARGUMENTS TO KEEP OUR SECTORS CLOSED ARE PAPER THIN”
“The arguments to keep our sectors closed are paper thin,” adds Unmute Us spokesperson Jasper Goossen. “In the countries surrounding us, you see that the restrictions imposed on us in the Netherlands have already been released and that the reopening of the event and night catering sector hardly contributes to an increase in figures.”
Last month, venues in the Netherlands temporarily turned themselves into hairdressers and beauty salons in protest at the ongoing shutdown. Two barbers set up on the stage of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw concert hall, while a barber and two nail artists tended to visitors at the Van Gogh Museum.
Restrictions were enacted three months ago. With no indication still on when it will be able to fully reopen, the industry is pleading for fresh talks with the new Dutch cabinet.
“The action from De Nacht comes from the enormous frustration that prevails with us,” says Aziz Yagoub, owner of Rotterdam’s Annabel club. “We speak to many young people who want to go out… They feel that the most important stage of development in their lives is being thrown away.”
Last week, health minister Ernst Kuipers told the House of Representatives he wanted to investigate whether night establishments could open under the 1G model, whereby everyone gets tested for coronavirus. However, no meeting has yet been scheduled.
Until now, the government has implemented a 3G policy, which requires proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative Covid test. Earlier this week, it made an additional €56.5 million available to culture, bringing its latest support package for the sector to €251.6m.
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