With the newly-loosened rules brought in, people can start to use various public places again
by Thomas Ansell
Have you ever missed going to the gym so much that you’d sweat at midnight? How about heading for a beer before most people’s alarms have gone off? With the first glimpse of social freedom allowed from yesterday evening (technically midnight) people across the Netherlands flocked to their favourite watering holes and sweatboxes, reports the NOS.
Various new Coronavirus regulations came into effect on Wednesday morning, including terrace opening hours now extended to 06:00-20:00, gyms being allowed to re-open, and outdoor leisure activities also given the green light to let in the public.
One bar in Almelo, in the east of the Netherlands, opened its doors at 06:00 this morning, with a special commemorative towel (to ‘claim their seat’) and one-euro breakfast offer. By the time that 06:00 had rolled around there was a queue of people stretching across the square.
In Leeuwarden (per the Omrop Fryslân), the Iron Heart gym opened at midnight and was almost completely full a few minutes later. The gym opening was even attended by a (twice) former winner of the Netherlands’ strongest man; Jitse Kramer, who now works as a coach.
Thirty people lined up at a gym in Hoogezand in Groningen (per RTV Noord), with the owner of the gym welcoming back his clients with champagne.
Libraries and cultural institutions
Those wishing to exercise their minds, rather than their muscles or stomachs, will have to wait a little longer. Libraries may re-open from tomorrow, following a rebellion in the Dutch parliament: initially the government of Mark Rutte had wanted to make people wait until next week to visit libraries.
Perhaps one of the biggest missing elements of the ‘re-opening’ plan is museums and art galleries. These must wait until next week to re-open, despite shops having been open for a couple of weeks.