By Shwet Parag and Nicola Quaedvlieg
February 17, 2022: With a decrease in the number of COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions, the Dutch government has decided to lift several COVID-19 measures. One of the steps towards a return to normalcy is allowing nightclubs to open their doors again as stated by the Dutch government in their latest press release.
“We are very, very happy and excited,” says an employee from Palace, a dance club located in Groningen. They refer to the news from the government that clubs can once again allow visitors from the 18th of February. Those who enter will still be required to show a valid COVID-19 pass, based on vaccinations, recent recovery, or a negative self-test, and must leave every night between 1 and 5 in the morning. Nevertheless, it is the first time since November that dance clubs in the Netherlands can open their doors.
For clubbing-enthusiasts, it’s great news too. “There is an intense desire to party among our visitors,” says Pascal Rakers, founder of KopjeK, an event planner company that organizes techno and house club nights. He is looking forward to the first night of allowing visitors again but mentions that “constantly switching back and taking into account new rules or even cancellations, […] was difficult and heavy.”
The circumstances have indeed changed a lot, with nightclubs being closed on three separate occasions already. Each time it opened, there were different rules and regulations that Rakers had to take into consideration.
Click here for a timeline of restrictions!
One of the most challenging aspects is “that many professionals no longer work in the event industry or catering,” Rakers says. On top of that, he will have to follow all rules from the RIVM, including that people will have to leave early during the night, something the venue did not have to worry about prior to the pandemic.
Despite the many obstacles and restrictions faced, Rakers remains positive. He mentions to have learned plenty from the past two years of changing regulations and is used to being flexible given his 12 years of experience in the business.
Whether this is the last time KopjeK has to close due to the pandemic is unclear. However, even if the regulations get stricter, Rakers states with enthusiasm that they will make the necessary adaptations.
Palace has a similar outlook and says they will “keep a positive attitude and look towards a bright future.”