There’s no New Year’s Eve without fireworks, and the Netherlands rarely disappoints in that area. From Groningen in the north, to Maastricht in the south, you can bet the sky will be covered with fire and sparkles in basically every Dutch city.
Fireworks and the Netherlands are a never-ending love story, sprinkled with passion, affection, and a good bunch of drama.
Here is all you need to know about the Dutch plans for a banging New Year’s Eve 2022.
December 31st in the Netherlands is something you’ll never forget. As opposed to Halloween and Christmas, the Dutch take New Year’s Eve very seriously.
And by seriously, we mean that all the major Dutch cities turn into something resembling a war zone on the last day of the year.
Dutch people are not shy about throwing firecrackers onto the street where you’re walking, and you’re likely to be shocked by explosions and bangs on every corner.
City centres are usually intensely crowded, and large crowds combined with fire quickly turn into a safety hazard.
So, if you’re not interested in risking injury or sore ears as part of your holiday celebrations, you might want to be extra careful when going out on New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands.
During the coronavirus years of 2020 and 2021, many municipalities decided to ban the use of fireworks completely.
This was partially to limit the risk of infection posed by crowds gathering to watch the celebrations, and partially to avoid overloading hospitals with non-Covid related work at an already strained time.
Since the pandemic ended, however, rules are pretty much back to normal. Officially, untrained individuals are not permitted to light fireworks in the Netherlands, with one notable exception: New Year’s Eve.
Between 6 PM on December 31st, and 2 AM on January 1st, regular folks can set off (almost) whatever fireworks they like.
Of course, we’re talking about the Dutch, so you’re likely to occasionally hear fireworks all year round — and a lot in the two months prior to New Year’s.
Also, officially, fireworks can only be sold to private individuals between December 29 and 31, by certified stores. However, the specific rules always differ between municipalities, as firework regulations are set locally, not nationally.
Additionally, there are certain types of fireworks that are banned. That means, your local fireworks dealer is not allowed to sell them, and if you somehow find them, you’re not allowed to use them. The forbidden types of fireworks are:
Despite the rather strict regulations, however, most people largely disregard limitations, buy them from other countries, and set off fireworks whenever and wherever they please.
What can we say? Dutch people just love their fireworks.
No matter where you are in the Netherlands, you can expect one thing from New Year’s Eve 2022: there will be fireworks.
To date, with the current relaxed coronavirus situation in the Netherlands, there’s unlikely to be a national fireworks ban, after a bill was rejected by parliament earlier this year. However, each Dutch municipality can make their own rules.
Here’s what December 31 might look like in your city.
Amsterdam has made moves to ban private fireworks but are compensating with a fantastic public show and activities.
The central Museumplein in Amsterdam will be filled with attractions, including an ice rink, to welcome the new year with style. There will also be fireworks lit at the famous square, so you can enjoy the beautiful show without having to worry about doing it yourself.
The Dutch harbour city of Rotterdam has also prohibited personal fireworks, but you won’t be short on options this New Year’s Eve.
The oh-so-famous Erasmus Bridge will provide Rotterdammers with a magnificent spectacle, known as the biggest fireworks show in the Netherlands. For the kids, there’s an early option at 7 PM.
You’ll also be able to see fireworks at Nesselande and Hoek van Holland, so there’s no shortage of options.
The administrative capital of the Netherlands will not opt for a firework ban for private persons, describing such bans as unrealistic.
Instead, stork town will enforce fireworks-free zones around the city, for example, in areas close to petting zoos, animal shelters, and hospitals.
Whether the usual fireworks show at Hofvijver in The Hague will take place is currently not clear, but the municipality has indicated that the planning is somewhat delayed.
As of now, the large bonfire events at Scheveningen and Duindorp are set to go ahead as usual, although certain permits are yet to be finalised.
No matter the firework situation, though, you can rest assured that the traditional New Year’s swim at Scheveningen will take place as always.
Utrecht is not enforcing a fireworks ban, but it’s not quite free-for-all. All inhabitants are allowed to set off fireworks from December 31, 6 PM, until January 1, 2 AM.
However, a number of fireworks-free zones will be implemented (at least one in each district) where fireworks cannot be used.
The southern city of Maastricht hasn’t released an official position on New Year’s Eve fireworks for 2022, so to date, they’ll follow the national regulations.
Groningen is all for the fireworks. If there’s no national fireworks ban this year, Groningers will go ahead and enjoy their personal fireworks.
If a national fireworks ban is declared, the municipality has already stated they will expand their public light show into a major event. According to the city, they’re already preparing for a firework-free future.
The widespread fireworks obsession in the Netherlands does not come without troubles, however. Injuries and even casualties are an unfortunate routine every year, with emergency rooms filled to the brim from fireworks-related incidents.
Most large-scale celebrations in the Netherlands have seen dangerous situations unfold where fireworks have set fire to cars, mailboxes, and even buildings.
In addition to regular violence as part of the mayhem that usually erupts during the Dutch New Year’s celebrations, certain individuals also tend to find it sensible to fire fireworks into crowds of people, celebrating in public areas.
Needless to say, it’s an annual struggle to keep the festivities under control, and the injuries and damages at a minimum.
If you do not live in a fireworks-free zone, and you wish to light up your own show this New Year’s Eve, there are several precautions you should consider.
First of all, don’t light fireworks if you’re influenced by alcohol — it’s a recipe for disaster. Secondly, always wear protective eye gear when handling fireworks, and never hold lit fireworks in your hands.
Keep water close by in case of unintentional fire spreading, and never (ever, ever,) light fireworks indoors.
Finally, make sure you keep the fireworks as far away from other people, houses, or flammable materials as possible.
Pet owners should consider their four-legged friends’ well-being before committing to their fireworks plans.
New Year’s Eve can be a seriously traumatic experience for many pets, and it might be worth it to skip the fireworks altogether, to avoid stressing out your (or your neighbours’) animals.
Other than that, try to keep the curtains closed to limit the amount of light flashes in your house, walk your dog before the whole thing starts, and try to behave as normally as possible around your pet to avoid increased stress.