The typically Dutch tradition of exploding milk churns may go ahead, minus its usual festivities
Translated by Adriana Dancu
Following a harsh message from Prime Minister Mark Rutte in his press conference on Monday evening: The Netherlands will be in complete lockdown until 19 January.
The Mayor of Leeuwarden, and Chair of the Safety Region Fryslân chairman Sybrand Buma calls the decision more than logical: “The only decision that was possible.”
He points out that it will be sober holidays and that the Dutch tradition of carbide shooting, which is allowed, should not be a joyous festivity.
Although there are large regional differences in the number of Coronavirus infections in the Netherlands, it is important, according to Buma, that Friesland follows the national rules: “Things are also increasing rapidly in Friesland. We are now at the bottom of the national figures, but higher than ever in Friesland, so we just have to conform [to the new rules].”
The aim is to limit contact between people as much as possible. That is why, for example, non-essential shops, public facilities and schools must close their doors for the time being. Furthermore, the advice is not to receive more than two people at home. An exception applies only on 24, 25 and 26 December, in which case people may receive three people.
“It’s a sour apple that you can’t enjoy going into town or having people visit during the holidays,” says Buma. “It is a very difficult time of the year. But the rules apply to everyone.”
Our own responsibility
According to Buma, this largely comes down to people’s own responsibility, and the Coronavirus crisis cannot be solved with enforcement. “It makes no sense to wait until an enforcer is standing next to you to see if you are following the rules, because that virus may have jumped over a long time. We really have to solve this together by ourselves.”
However, opposition to the Coronavirus measures seems to be increasing. When Prime Minister Rutte gave his speech, protests could be heard from people outside in the background. “The whole of the Netherlands is done with it. But the virus is still there and the situation is very serious. The only thing we can do now is get over it. It is a serious crisis that will last a long time”, says Buma
With the holidays approaching, the question is how well people will comply with the Coronavirus measures. Especially at Christmas time, people expect to be able to visit each other.
A big social event in Friesland is carbide shooting. That will remain a sober event this year. People are only allowed outside with a maximum of two people.
Buma, therefore, emphasizes once again that people should not come together. “The carbide shooting is not prohibited in itself. It is mainly a social event, but that is not possible this year!” The mayor is in talks with all of the carbide teams in the municipality of Leeuwarden to ensure that things do not get out of hand in terms of numbers of people. “It is really boring this year. It is allowed and the choice is yours, but it is not a nice festivity this year.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
At the same time, there is light at the end of the tunnel, says Buma. However, he thinks we have to go through that tunnel first: “The vaccination starts in January and that is the path to normal. But it just remains terribly tough.”
What is carbide shooting (Carbidschieten)?
On The Northern Times you can find a detailed article about the typically Dutch tradition of carbide shooting. In short, carbide shooting is a traditional, explosive, activity performed by Dutch people to celebrate the New Year.
In carbide shooting a small amount of calcium carbide (used in fertiliser and industrial chemical production) is dropped into a metal milk churn, along with water. This causes the calcium carbide to decompose and produce acetylene gas, which is then burned by a flame next to a small hole in the milk churn. The resulting explosion sends the lid of the churn spinning tens of meters, and a hugely loud bang. From the 1980’s the lid was usually replaced by a ball, for safety reasons.
There are even competitions and the Stichting Carbidschieten Drenthe even presents a ‘Milk Churn Trophy’ to the winner of the Open Carbide Shooting Championship. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the carbide shooting is a very dangerous activity, and you should never do it unsupervised.
The article source can be found here.