Nightclubs and music venues in The Netherlands to open for one night in protest to COVID restrictions

Dozens of Dutch venues are participating in the protest that will break COVID rules

Nightclubs and music venues across The Netherlands will open for one night this Saturday (February 12) in protest of ongoing COVID restrictions.

De Nacht staat op (“the night rises”) is a campaign led by venue owners who will purposefully break the nation’s current restrictions by re-opening up their establishments to show objection to continued closures.

Dutch news outlet NU.nl reports that the protest will kick off from 9pm. Dozens of Dutch clubs including Amsterdam’s Melkweg, Radio Radio, Shelter, as well as Utrecht’s Ekko, are taking part.

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The OAC (Council of Amsterdam Clubs) and Nachtbelang are jointly spearheading the campaign. “Everyone deserves the night to get to know themselves or to just be,” Joost Kimbel said on behalf of the nightlife collective. “Who does not see this, is asleep. This is why the night rises, to wake up the government and everyone else.”

“It is frustrating,” said Amsterdam’s Chicago Social Club owner Pieter de Kroon. “Dutch young people need this. Their mental health is bad. And you see more and more illegal parties where it’s not safe.”

Escape nightclub in Amsterdam
Escape nightclub in Amsterdam, pictured in October 2020. CREDIT: Sabine van Wechem/Getty Images

Axel van der Lugt of Amsterdam venue Doka told Resident Advisor: “We feel that Dutch politicians failed to recognise the significance value of nightlife over the past two years.”

The Netherlands’ current COVID restrictions are due to remain in place until March 8, but today (February 7) Dutch government officials were said to be meeting with nightlife representatives to discuss the plans.

The news follows other European countries easing restrictions of late, including Scotland.

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Last month, Scotland’s nightclubs reopened, large indoor events resumed and social distancing rules were dropped.

Restrictions on outdoor events in the nation were previously lifted on January 17. That allowed fans to return to outdoor concerts and football matches, after COVID restrictions were put in place on Boxing Day 2021, reducing outdoor events to a capacity of 500.

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