Fighting or partying? The Netherlands gets ready for first party weekend

On the 25th of September, the clubs open again in The Netherlands after being closed for three months. But not everything has gone back to normal: they still must close at midnight. In other countries, such as Belgium and France, there have been riots every evening when the bars and clubs close. Is The Netherlands prepared for these kinds of riots? And what do the clubs expect?

“For now, there are only fights in the weekend when people are really drunk,” Mara (24) says. She works at Coco’s Outback, a famous bar near Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam. “In our street, there is a good atmosphere with little violence,” Mara adds. The curfew doesn’t make a big difference. “You would think a lot of people fight in Amsterdam, but it’s really okay.”

Mara thinks that when the clubs open again, the fights and night violence will come back. “A lot of people didn’t party for a really long time. People will exaggerate to compensate for the lost time,” she says. “People will drink more, are together in a small space, … So, people get irritated faster.” The irritations and fights continue in the streets when the bars and clubs close. “I’m really afraid for this weekend,” Mara concludes.

Marjolijn van Heste is an advisor for the Centrum voor Criminaliteitspreventie en Veiligheid (CCV). She’s specialised in safe partying and social security. Marjolijn agrees with Mara and says there will be a lot of violence and fights the upcoming weekend. “The clubs already opened at the end of June for a few weeks and all the problems from before corona came back.” Problems like public intoxication, noise pollution and night violence. Marjolijn thinks these kinds of problems will also come back when the clubs open. “It depends on how many people will party, and how many clubs will open. Because some clubs are still doubting if they will open.” But what are the consequences then?

“When there are too many people and too little clubs, that’s when the irritations start. Irritations turn into fights and violence. Add the curfew to that, and it goes completely off the rails.”

The difference with the opening in June is, that there is a curfew now. “Now at midnight, people must go home. Everyone will gather in the streets all together, where normally the crowds are spread out over the night.” Marjolijn says that’s where the fights and violence will start. To be continued this weekend.