Nightlife professionals in the Netherlands were expecting COVID-19 event bans to be lifted on Tuesday, September 1st. The Dutch government instead announced a €482 million relief package the following day, leaving enough dissatisfied to organize a Saturday, September 5th protest on Amsterdam’s Museumplein under the banner De Nacht Wacht (“the night awaits” in English).
Roughly 500 participated in the demonstration according to Amsterdam police, reported Het Parool. Aided by markers placed on the ground by local authorities, they generally remained a safe distance from one another and some wore masks. Many carried signs with slogans such as “Performing arts are medicine,” “We want our night back!” and “The curve has flattened, now what?”
Speakers from the entertainment sector condemned the Dutch government for rejecting their proposal for how to safely resume nightlife, namely by ensuring proper ventilation and COVID-19 tests of attendees upon entrance.
“Politicians don’t give a shit about nightlife or all the people who work in it,” said Dutch DJ Joost van Bellen. “Nightlife is waiting, but without respect and support we cannot keep up that waiting. Without support, a gigantic industry and a culture that we are proud of in the Netherlands will break down.”
“Clubs are hammered in the media,” added Nadia Duinker, a co-founder of club brands like Canvas and Doka Amsterdam and co-owner of Vrijland Festival. “They are closed when they try to be inventive in the time of corona. A vaccine is suggested as the only remedy. In the meantime, a second lockdown is hanging over our heads. Entrepreneurs have proven themselves inventive enough to make do with what we have.”
After the speeches,”(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right” by the Beastie Boys played over a loudspeaker before a moment of “silence for the night.”
Image credit: Dawid Łabno