Dutch museums and concert halls open as hair salons in protest against Covid-19 rules


Published on:

On Wednesday, museums and concert halls temporarily turned into beauty salons and gyms in the Netherlands in protest against the Dutch government’s coronavirus restrictions.

A barber and two nail artists groomed visitors among priceless works of art at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and two barbers set up their chairs on the stage of the capital’s Concertgebouw.

The cultural sector says it’s unfair they have to remain closed as Covid restrictions were lifted last week on shops and so-called ‘contact professions’ like barbers, nail salons and even the sex work.

Dutch authorities issued enforcement notices to a number of the approximately 70 sites that took part in the day-long protest.

“We wanted to make it clear that a museum is a safe visit and that we have to be open,” Van Gogh museum director Emilie Gordenker told AFP.

“The mayor called me last night and she said she wouldn’t allow this. We expect to get a warning at some point after which we will have to close, but we really wanted to make this point so we we are there.”

One of the barber’s customers said he came because he was “pro-culture”.

“Let’s reopen business, let’s reopen culture as soon as possible,” said Max Smit, 32.

“Of course with reasonable pandemic risk taking, but I think that big institutions like big open spaces like the Van Gogh museum should be able to reopen.”

“Two years of patience”

Nearby, the ‘Barbershop at the Concertgebouw’ event saw two masked barbers cut their hair on stage, while the orchestra played Charles Iver’s Symphony No. 2.

“After two years of patience and an always constructive attitude, it is high time to have a fair perspective for the cultural sector,” said Concertgebouw director Simon Renink.

Fitness classes took place at the Mauritshuis gallery in The Hague, home to Vermeer’s famous ‘Girl with the Earring’, while the Speelklok museum in Utrecht turned into a gym.

Law enforcement officers visited the museum in Utrecht and he later continued the protest outside, public broadcaster NOS said.

The protest follows similar civil disobedience measures taken by bars and restaurants in the Netherlands against some of the strictest Covid measures in Europe.

Cafes opened in several cities over the weekend despite the government’s announcement on Friday that they must remain closed until at least February 25.

The government said it needed to remain cautious because as hospitalizations fell, new infections caused by the Omicron variant were at record highs.

Anger over the restrictions turned to violence in January last year and again in November when riots broke out in cities including Rotterdam and The Hague.



Comments are closed.