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Dutch biz calls for speedy reopening

The Netherlands' new cabinet is set to decide on whether to ease the full national lockdown that has been in place since 19 December

By James Hanley on 13 Jan 2022

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has extended lockdown until 9 February

Mark Rutte


The Dutch events industry is calling for a fresh approach to the Covid-19 crisis as prime minister Mark Rutte begins his fourth term in office.

The new cabinet is due to meet today (13 January) to discuss whether to ease the full lockdown that has been in place since 19 December, during which time music venues have been closed and events banned, with plans to implement a 2G system on hold.

As a result of the measures, this month’s ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) European festival and conference in Groningen has moved entirely online for the second consecutive year.

The live sector is seeking “constructive discussions” with government officials, and is appealing for the authorities to show “courage and decisiveness” in their decisions.

“Support packages and guarantee schemes may have been helpful, but a quick opening is now vital”

“It is clear that the approach so far has not resulted in a structurally open society,” says Jolanda Jansen of the Alliance of Event Builders. “It is also clear that society has a great need for a different approach. After two years, we know a lot about the virus and the impact of measures on society.

“Health is more than the absence of Covid. The negative consequences, both social and economic, are greater than ever and support for the policy is declining sharply. The scenarios on which the current lockdown was based have fortunately not turned out to be true; [leading to] this urgent call to lift the lockdown and come up with a reopening plan.”

Last year, the Dutch government announced a €15m fund to compensate promoters and venues for lost revenue from indoor standing shows – on top of its €385m guarantee fund.

“For the events sector, the support packages and guarantee schemes may have been helpful, but a quick opening is now vital,” insists Riemer Rijpkema of the EventPlatform. “The urgency is great for the visitors and the artists, but also for us as organisers, suppliers and locations – to retain staff and offer prospects to entrepreneurs and to preserve and not let the once thriving and internationally renowned sector go to waste.

“The starting point must therefore be: open the [market] as soon as possible and do what is necessary to prevent the damage from being irreparable.”

 


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