In the turn of the year from 2018 to 2019, the bonfire in Scheveningen turned into a drama. There a shower of sparks arose, the caused considerable damage in the area. About 250 damages were reported to the municipality, which together accounted for a damage amount of approximately one million euros. Miraculously there were no injuries.
The Dutch Safety Board (OvV) investigated the sparks and issued a damning report in 2019. The builders of the bonfires violated agreements and took too little responsibility and the authorities did not intervene, causing the fire stacks to become much higher and larger than agreed. The Dutch Safety Board advised to introduce a permit requirement for bonfires from now on.
But after the appearance of the report of the Dutch Safety Board, in October last year, there was too little time to submit a proper permit application. As a result, the congregation saw no way to allow the bonfires to continue safely.
According to the municipality, this year it looks’ substantially better in comparison with previous years’ for the coming turn of the year, ‘Jan van Zanen writes in a letter to the municipal council. In recent months, various discussions have been held with the organizers of the bonfires. “The plans show that the organizers of Scheveningen and Duindorp have worked hard to complete the permit application,” says Van Zanen. The applications will soon be available for inspection, residents can still object if necessary.
Van Zanen does warn that the corona virus can still throw a spanner in the works. ‘The above information has not yet assumed further national and local restrictive measures in the context of combating the corona virus. Naturally, national policy is closely monitored and policy and the resulting measures and activities are adjusted accordingly. ‘
Nevertheless, the organization of Vreugdevuur Scheveningen sees the positive attitude of the municipality as a reason to start preparations for the next edition. He says on Facebook: “After a year of absence, we can now finally start again with our preparations for the next edition and we can continue this beautiful tradition with a long history.”
Stacking by hand
Because the fire stacks should not be too high, the organization will use a different construction technique. ‘This year, due to the maximum dimensions of 10 x 10 x 10, we will opt for traditional stacking by hand. Without the help of construction equipment, the youth will have the opportunity to help build the bonfire from start to finish again next year. ‘
In April, the municipality actually wanted to ask Hagenaars for advice about the bonfires. The research results of this ‘city-wide consultation’ would be used in the implementation of next New Year’s Eve. But due to corona, this consultation has been postponed to January next year. ‘With the consultation at the beginning of 2021 we can get a clearer picture of how residents think about the New Year, bonfires and fireworks.’
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