Test Events In The Netherlands Canceled Over Hospital Petition

Scene from 538 Oranjedag in 2015.
Sander KONING/AFP via Getty Images
– Scene from 538 Oranjedag in 2015.
The annual event is usually held to celebrate the birthday of the Dutch king. This year, the festival was supposed to be a scientific experiment generating results that could help bring back large social gatherings.

When Field Events announced a 10,000-capacity pilot festival as part of its “Back To Live” initiative, a surgeon at the local hospital launched a petition that has made the authorities call the event off.

Scheduled for April 24, the Oranjedag festival, promoted by Dutch radio station 538, was supposed to welcome 10,000 visitors at Chasséveld in Breda, Netherlands. 
Guests were required to test for coronavirus beforehand as well as afterwards, with vulnerable groups excluded from participation.
Tickets had sold out in no time, more than one million had applied for a ticket during pre-registration, according to the website of radio station 538.
The idea of 10,000 people gathering didn’t sit well with Rogier Crolla, surgeon at the close-by Amphia Hospital, who launched a petition that described the planned test event as “a blow to patients and care givers.” 
The goal of the petition, which was to get authorities to “cancel this ill-considered pseudo-experiment,” has been reached, after more than 375,000 people signed.
The mayor of Breda, Paul Depla, decided not to grant a permit for the Fieldlab pilot, fearing “increasing social unrest.” He said local police had been expecting supporters and opponents of the country’s corona policy as well as Fieldlab’s Back To Live initiative, “with all the associated security risks.”
“As mayor, I stand for the safety of the police officers, local residents and event visitors. I regret it, but on the basis of this information I cannot grant a permit for 538 Oranjedag on April 24 at the Chasséveld,” his statement on the website of Breda Municipality reads.
The only other 10,000-cap test event that was a part of Fieldlab’s list, the May 1 Startschotgala in Lichtenvoorde, reportedly got canceled in the wake of Breda, as well.
It remains to be seen what happens to the rest, which include the broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Ahoy Rotterdam, May 17-22.
List of upcoming Fieldlab test events below:
April 24, The Efteling Kaatsheuvel, 8,000 cap
April 24, 538 Oranjedag, Chasséveld, Breda, 10,000 cap
May 1, Startschotgala, Lichtenvoorde 10,000
May 7, Concert by Dutch rock band Racoon, MAINSTAGE, Den Bosch, 3,500
May 8, Mud Masters, Floriadeterrein, Haarlemmermeer, 9,000
May 14 Het Residentie Orkest, Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague, 1,000
May 15 Clubnight in Amsterdam, 1,000
May 16, Enschede Marathon, Airport Twenthe, 5,000
May 17-22, Eurovision Song Contest, Ahoy Rotterdam, 3,500 for each of a total of nine shows 
May TBA, EventSummit, Jaarbeurs, Utrecht, 3,000
TBA “Back to Live” at Walibi Holland leisure park, Biddinghuizen, 9,000