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Dutch Clubs Plan To Reopen In COVID-19 Protest
Christian Eede , February 7th, 2022 18:59

The De Nacht staat op campaign against current restrictions in the Netherlands has support from venues such as Melkweg and Shelter so far

A number of nightclubs and music venues across the Netherlands are planning to reopen for one night only this Saturday (February 12) in defiance of current COVID-19 restrictions in the country.

The De Nacht staat op campaign, translated to English as 'the night is on', was launched last week by Dutch nightlife groups Nachtbelang and the OAC (Council of Amsterdam Clubs). A number of venues across the Netherlands have already signed up to take part in the protest, including Amsterdam's Melkweg, Shelter and Radio Radio; Annabel in Rotterdam; and Utrecht's Ekko.

Under current COVID-19 measures in the Netherlands, nightclubs and other late-night spaces are not allowed to open, with no date yet given for when those restrictions might be loosened. They've been closed since November, having initially been given the all-clear to open again in late September. Cafés, bars and restaurants have been given permission to reopen as of last month, though this came after a number of cafés staged their own protest and reopened in defiance of the rules.

Many of the nightclubs and late-night venues taking part in this latest protest are doing so as they feel the Dutch government has unfairly singled them out. Those behind the campaign have also pointed to the rise of illegal raves, where there are little or no safety measures in place, as a reason to allow nightlife to return, where a 3G admission policy (requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination, recovery or a negative test) can be put in place. Many of the venues taking part in this weekend's protest will be enforcing such a policy when they open.

It's not yet clear what consequences venues or the organisers of this campaign might face if the protest indeed goes ahead this weekend. Government officials have been meeting with representatives of the country's nightlife industry today (February 7), but nothing has yet emerged from those talks.

The Netherlands yesterday reported a record high 94,884 new cases of COVID-19. As of January 30, 86.3 percent of the adult population (aged 18 and over) is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 59.4 percent of the adult population has received an additional booster dose.