The curfew in the Netherlands remains in force

Do I have to go home or not? A passer-by in Rotterdam on Tuesday evening talking to a police officer.
Image: dpa

The Hague Administrative Court lifted the nocturnal curfew in the morning, and the appellate court suspended the judgment in the evening. It is important to prevent constant back and forth as long as the main issue has not been decided, so the reasoning.

Dhe curfew imposed by the Dutch government has become the subject of a legal tug-of-war. After the administrative court in The Hague initially lifted the nocturnal curfew imposed on January 23 on Tuesday morning, this judgment was suspended again by the appellate court in the evening – immediately before the curfew began at 9 p.m. The court granted the government temporary legal protection before it will hear the case on Friday. It is important to prevent constant back and forth as long as the main issue has not been decided, so the reasoning. The appellate body wants to announce its verdict next week.

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

The opponents of the curfew were too early to look forward to. The group “Viruswaarheid”, similar to the “lateral thinking” movement in Germany, had obtained the cancellation and then announced that they wanted to have a party that evening. Geert Wilders from the right-wing populist Freedom Party wrote on Twitter: “Rutte wrongly locked the Netherlands in after nine o’clock in the evening.” Prime Minister Mark Rutte reacted disappointed to the judge’s verdict, but immediately appealed. The repeal was a heavy defeat for the incumbent four-party coalition under his leadership, one month before the next parliamentary election.

Do the mutations lead to an “untenable situation”?

The curfew, which applies from 9 p.m. to 4.30 a.m., has no legal basis, the administrative court had decided. The government ordered the restriction on the basis of a law for exceptional situations, which was intended for immediate emergencies such as a dike breach, but not for such extensive interference with civil liberties. The government had justified this with the need to contain the “British” variant of the coronavirus, which had spread quickly in the country.

The presiding judge rejected that. It is not certain “that the mutations will lead to an untenable situation”. The government did not consider a curfew to be necessary during the first wave, when the pressure on the health system was greater. No reliable data are yet available on the effect of such a measure in other countries. “Far-reaching measures like these must be based on proper laws,” the judgment said. Violent protests had broken out over the curfew.


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