Young people about the fireworks ban: ‘The only fun is now taken from it’

Unrest in Roosendaal, in the Arnhem district Geitenkamp and on Urk. Young people have caused nuisance in various places by firing fireworks and setting fire.

What‘s going on here? The fireworks ban is mentioned as a direct cause for the disturbances, but what exactly causes the unrest among young people in some places in the country is still unclear.

Clearly, young people are struggling because of the corona measures. Also during the first corona wave and in the summer there was boredom and frustration among young people. Is the fireworks ban throwing oil on the fire again? We ask young people themselves.

Job of Nuenen: service technician from Breda, 22 years old

โ€œ Riots like in Arnhem are not here, but I do expect it to come to Breda as well. You notice young people become more rebellious. โ€œIt’s farted, this can stop, โ€œyou hear that kind of sounds. They‘re tackling the fireworks ban now to make a statement. Your freedom is taken away by corona and I understand that they think: the only fun thing about New Year’s Eve is being taken away.โ€

โ€œ I am also fond of popping with my friends during the New Year. That‘s why we’re going to carbide shooting now, that‘s okay. We have a group of 15 or 16 men. Normally we see each other every weekend, now we have contact via social media. Ever since the first wave, I’ve been running into the walls. Because I am a social animal: someone who is always at the front of a party. I miss the conviviality.โ€

โ€œ Of course, this does not only apply to young people, but older people understand us. ‘Our mam’ also says: it is a shitty time for everyone, but for young people a little more, than for the elderly.โ€

Bart Stenekes: chairman of the youth council Zwolle, 21 years old

โ€œ I don‘t see fireworks being fired anywhere around me. So yes, it is not going well in a few places in the Netherlands because small groups of young people are putting off fireworks there. But it also goes well in many places. Many young people feel that things are being taken away during this corona period. That gives a sense of powerlessness. The fireworks ban will then be on top of that. Then some young people think, โ€œI crap on it.โ€ I understand that thought, but of course I disapprove of the behaviour.โ€

โ€œ At the moment I find it a boring lot myself, although I have enough to do by setting up a youth platform. It’s my birthday today, and I‘m not going to celebrate it like other years. It’s going to be a toast with two of my best friends. What I‘m missing is going out, the social contact. And that’s what I hear with other young people around me.โ€

โ€œ A nice date, going out to dinner, doing sports: it‘s not all possible. And those are pretty important things, especially when you’re young. Because young people need space to experiment. That space is a lot less now. As a result, we are affected by our development, which means that the consequences of corona measures are ultimately greater for young people than for other groups.โ€

O.D., 17 years

โ€œ Again something that is taken away by the coronacrisis. I really feel that way when it comes to the fireworks ban. I understand it‘s not convenient, because people can end up in the hospital. And I can also come up with something more fun than putting off fireworks at the New Year’s, but still. I‘m really tired of this corona period.โ€

โ€œ In the beginning it was quite easy. Then I started playing games, learning to play the piano and doing sports at home. Now I have no purpose to work towards. I just had a test week and I notice I fall into a hole after that. I have depressive feelings, but I’ll get out of bed. I just think, โ€œWhat am I doing it for?โ€

โ€œ At school, only learning goes on, not the fun things like Christmas dinner and the Berlin trip. I do understand it, also because many elderly people are falling down and getting sick. But the rules are crooked: I can‘t go to hockey, but there are 16 of us in a school class. I find that hard to understand.โ€

โ€œ What makes me really gloomy is that there is no prospect. We know so little. And I don’t know when this will end.โ€

( O. D. does not want to be called by full name. Which is well known to the editors)