Dozens of people were injured across the region by fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Day, and a man in Friesland is believed to have died after being wounded by a firework. Firefighters also responded to dozens of calls across Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland.
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that a 41-year-old man from the Frisian town of Morra died on New Year’s Eve. According to bystanders, there was a loud bang around 8 p.m., and the man passed away at the scene. The police told the newspaper that they are still investing the incident.
There were six people admitted to the hospital in Tjongerschans with minor injuries due to fireworks. In Rosterhaule, a 14-year-old from Heerenveen was admitted to hospital after he was wounded when a firework exploded in his coat. In the town of Ens, a 24-year-old man suffered burns after using a slurry tank to fire carbides. A police spokesperson says that the man was injured while preparing the carbide, which entails sprinkling chunks of carbide stone into a container (usually a milk can), adding water, closing the lid to let gas form, setting it on fire and then blowing the lid off.
Elsewhere in Friesland, fire departments responded to calls to put out half a dozen fires which had been set across the province. A man was arrested in Wolvega after getting belligerent with the police who were on site to assist fire fighters put out a fire on the street.
In Groningen, there were 18 people admitted to the burn unit at Martini Hospital due to fireworks-related injuries, and five people were treated at UMCG. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that at Martini, which is the main burn treatment centre for the entire north, 12 of the patients were injured by fireworks and six were injured by carbides. Six of the patients were under the age of 16. Those numbers are still relatively low: “It seems like there may be a decline because people are being more careful with fireworks”, according to a spokesperson for UMCG.
Aside from the burns and other fireworks-related injuries, the two Groningen city hospitals treated 10 patients for alcohol or drug poisoning. Several cars were set on fire in the city, including one in Paddepoel, where armoured police were dispatched on Sunday night following riots. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the roof of a Lidl in Beijum caught fire overnight, and cars were set on fire in Warffum and Hoogkerk. The vehicle in Hoogkerk which was damaged was a patrol car, and the agents were not in the car when it was struck by fireworks. The police are investigating the case and no arrests have been made.
In Drenthe, there were no patients in the emergency room at the Meppel hospital, but there were three patients admitted to the Wilhelmina hospital in Assen. RTV Drenthe reports that one person was also admitted for alcohol poisoning.
Firefighters had their hands full in Drenthe putting out bonfires, several of which got out of hand: they responded to multiple fires in Assen, including one at an office unit, and a television tower in Hoogersmilde. There were also several reports of people throwing fireworks at first responders in the city. Fires were put out at around 10 other locations across the province throughout the night.
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that 30 people were taken into police custody across the region, mostly on suspicion of assault, vandalism, harassment and possession of illegal fireworks. In Friesland, there were 15 arrests, and in Drenthe, 5 people were taken into custody.
In the province of Groningen, 10 people were arrested in the province of Groningen overnight. A 31-year-old man from Hoogeveen was hospitalised after suffering head trauma in a fight in the city centre of Groningen, and his suspected assailant was taken into police custody.
On the Oosterstraat in the city of Groningen, police officers reportedly witnessed a 21-year-old man from Germany discharge a pistol. The man was arrested and the police took the weapon, which turned out to be an alarm pistol, as evidence.
In Geesberg in Drenthe, the armoured police were dispatched to a large fire on the street where 50 young men were gathered. The police initially arrived on the scene to secure it for the fire department, but the men reportedly vandalised property and blocked the road with planters. The mobile unit (ME) advanced on the group three times to disperse them so that fire fighters could put out the blaze.
UPDATE: 12:32 p.m., 1 January
A box with information about arrests has been added to this story.