Best wishes and a happy new year to all who support the ESV! Hopefully everyone had left some place for the necessary ‘oliebollen’, apple fritters and champagne after Christmas. That we will make this year to a success again. Personally, I am really looking forward to 2020 and all its great activities such as the lustrum week and the study trip. 2020 will also be the year in which some of you will try their luck abroad, discover the working life or will further explore Nijmegen. The start of the new year will therefore be celebrated big. On the couch with the New Year’s Eve conference, the top 2000, friends and perhaps with the necessary fireworks. It may have been a bit foggy last New Year’s Eve, but that did not stop the pyromaniacs among us!
Last year, a total of around 77 million euros was spent on firework. This is a new record and an increase of 10% compared to last year! The opinions are, as with so many subjects, completely divided nowadays. Many believe that it is a waste of money, that it only causes damage and makes a lot of noise, while others think it is great to stand out and think it is a tradition. Every year for New Year’s Eve, the question: ‘Should fireworks be abolished?’ arise again.
This year too, the damage due to fireworks, increased considerably. There is of course material damage every year, such as burned-down cars, blown up garbage cans and mailboxes, et cetera. According to the Dutch Association of Insurers, this material damage to individuals amounts approximately 15 million euros. An ‘average New Year’s Eve’. This amount is largely due to the damage to cars and houses. Again, this 15 million does not include damage to traffic signs, wells and other municipal property. This damage is estimated at a few million.
Although the material damage can often be remedied by throwing a lot of money into it, this is often a lot more difficult with immaterial damage. This year, on the night of December 31 to January 1, 385 fireworks victims went to the emergency room and about 900 went to the GP station. An article from SafetyNL confirms this. Despite the extra safety measures, this is an increase of 7% compared to last year. Moreover, half of all wounded did not light the fireworks themselves.
There were also other costs such as absence costs, extra firefighters, police and hospital staff. To make a long story short, the costs are huge. Not to mention the inconvenience experienced by humans and animals.
Of course, the fireworks have also made a great evening for many! Popping into the new year creates an atmosphere for many people. In this way, many people go on the streets, you also see your neighbours and meet new people on the square in the city. There are also more and more regulated fireworks shows and fireworks free zones.
I hope that everyone will soon come to toast at the Malle Babbe or with a can of Schultenbräu at an activity with all fingers and other limbs. For now I wish everyone the best of luck with his or her exams and remember: ‘With good filter coffee, sociability and a red couch in the break, you will get through the exams!’.
By: Wouter Pen