Cafés open their doors in Rotterdam in protest

Frank Roolaart especially missed the noise in his bar The Dutch Dukes on the Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam. On Saturday he opened the doors of his pub as a statement. It bothers him that he can’t open yet. “It is allowed in Antwerp: commotion in the city centre. I miss the sound of people having a good time together.” Even though Roolaart could only be open for a short time, his regular guests were very grateful to him.

Roolaart had indicated to the municipality that he was going to protest. He understands that the municipality of Rotterdam will eventually enforce it, because it is national policy. “If they weren’t going to enforce, I would have stayed open today and I would have opened tomorrow. And I think others would have done the same.”

A few catering establishments on the Witte de Withstraat are open on Saturdays. “I would have preferred more catering establishments to have chosen to open recently. The pressure from the shops has become enormous, and that has ensured that the shops are allowed to open again,” Roolaart thinks. He hopes that the catering industry can set the same in motion by occasionally opening its doors in protest.

His business had to close again a few hours later. When the BOAs came by, he decided to close the case again an hour later. The pub owner feels powerless: “What really hurts is that you have a kind of open-air festival in Belgium 100 kilometers away, because in Antwerp mainly Dutch people are looking for freedom. We can open safely in the catering industry, I’m sure of that.”

This first day his business was pleasantly full, but he did stick to the measures. He also doesn’t think he will make a new statement anytime soon: “Now it’s up to other things to show what they think about it. If there were to be a national campaign, I would participate.”