Happy Dutch New Year: fires, 15M in damages, and 58,000 kilos of illegal fireworks

The annual chaos of the Dutch New Year was as much as you could expect. New Years Eve is a purge of the regularity and systemic routine that the Netherlands engages in year-round. It’s an evening where people let their hair down, and run wild. 

How many illegal fireworks is too many? How does 57,969 kilos sound? That’s how many were seized by police in 2019, with 13,145 kilos seized in the past week alone.

Almost every Dutch New Year results in tragedy that could be avoided, and this year was no exception. Smoke inhalation killed a 39-year-old man and his 4-year-old son while trapped in an elevator. The mother and daughter of the family survived, with serious injuries. The fire was caused by fireworks discharged by a 12 and 13-year-old boy.

The Dutch Association of Insurers estimates that at least 15 million euros in damages occurred as the Netherlands rang in the new decade. Car fires are responsible for the majority of that figure, with 33 cars burnt in The Hague alone.

Huge amounts of illegal fireworks seized

A crackdown on illegal fireworks this year meant police officers carried out inspections of cars and properties. In a search of three hundred cars in Zwolle, one car was found with three thousand pyrotechnics in the vehicle.

The result was almost 1500 kilos more than in 2018, when agents seized 56,525 kilos.

Agents had one of their biggest successes when they found 1680 kilos of illegal fireworks in a garage in Bleiswijk in November. It included 30,000 Cobras,

How were the New Year celebrations where you were? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Politie Zwolle

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Samantha Dixon
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.

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