The #UnmuteUs movement is continuing to grow in scale throughout the Netherlands after over 150,000 took to the streets in the latest round of protests. However, a silver lining has now taken shape.
Across 10 different cities, Dutch citizens have voiced discontent with the government's COVID-19 policies and demanded nightclubs and major events—including festivals—be provided a pathway to return to the region.
This year, frustration with the Dutch government among the public and private sector has escalated as the government's rolling ban on music festivals has pushed into September. With no sign of relenting, 70,000 protestors took to the streets in late August with the dawn of #UnmuteUs.
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Following the events of this weekend, however, a highly visible press conference held today, September 14th, yielded an announcement by officials that laid out conditions under which event brands may restart operations. Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, Culture and Science, had appeared on the Dutch television program Goedemorgen Nederland on Monday morning to express optimism for the arts sector.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said social distancing will end in the Netherlands on September 25th, the same date that the government will begin mandating COVID-19 "health passes" for entry to nightlife businesses, WJXT4 reports. Rutte also said that nightclubs will be allowed to reopen but must shut down at midnight, along with restaurants and bars.
A limit in standard capacity to 75% is now allowed for indoor events and will require adherence to the suggestions made under the government-backed Fieldlab study of 2020.
The Fieldlab terms would most likely be considered reasonable by Dutch festival brands. In July, several major festivals began taking their fight to the court system with the filing of a lawsuit which demanded the government honor the terms of the study.