“The Rotterdam Summer Festivals will continue soon”

More flexible end times for festivals, more space for smaller events, and large festivals investing in parks and festival grounds with the municipality. These are the top three recommendations from research by the City Council’s Juvenile Policy Working Group, which they will present to Mayor Ahmed Abu Talib and House Member Saeed Qassemi (D66, Juvenile) on November 23.

In recent months, a special working group led by Marek Abrahams (VVD), Judith Bokhov (GroenLinks), Joanne Nunnelly (D66) and Donatella Schalm-Civell (Volt) has researched the juvenile policy of the municipality of Rotterdam. The reason was Pleinbioscoop, which could not have happened unexpectedly due to problems with the permit application. More event organizers have been affected by new and stricter municipal rules.

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The memorandum will be submitted to the Executive Board and Council on 23 November. Council members conducted their research on behalf of a council committee that has policy events on its agenda. The working group spoke with neighborhood councils, event organizers, Rotterdam festivals and local residents. What did that lead to?

1 More flexible end times

Strict finish times must be modified. The end time was the reason Pleinbioscoop didn’t happen. All events must now end at 11pm, while Pleinbioscoop can only show a movie when it’s dark. For events with little sound, like Pleinbioscoop, where people watch the movie with headphones, the working group wants to extend the end time to 00:00. If the neighborhood agrees, this can be done later. “Movies are like that, but events like breakfast helped. They were also nearing the end of that time, as per the advice of neighborhood councils.” An evaluation will follow at the end of 2023. “We want more customization, in consultation with the neighborhood.”

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2 More space for small, lively events

Location profiles, where the municipality determines the number and type of events that may occur in an area, provide very little room for smaller events that cause little inconvenience and for neighborhood events. In many neighborhoods, event spaces were filling up quickly. The municipality underestimated how often such events are held.” The working group wants more space for smaller events and neighborhood events.

The law already provides an exit for location cookies. Juveniles can get an exception by applying for an environmental permit. However, costs for this quickly reached €3,000, Abrahamsi learned from the organisations. This, especially for smaller clubs, is very expensive. As a result, many events cannot occur at the moment.” To obtain an environmental permit, regulators must, among other things, have disturbing noises and the flora and fauna of the intended location inspected. The working group also wants to require The municipality conducts these studies itself for certain areas, so that it becomes cheaper for regulators to apply for an environmental permit.

The working group will also ask the municipality whether regulators can apply for an environmental permit for several years at once, in order to reduce costs. The working group also wants to give the Rotterdam Festivals a bigger role in helping smaller events. “They’re the ones who have a hard time finding their way through all those passes.”

3 Investing in gardens together

The discussions conducted by the working group also showed that the senior organizers are willing to invest in the festival parks with the municipality. The working group wants the municipality to investigate the possibilities available in this regard. In parks like Frozen Park, where no major festivals have been booked after protests from local residents, there has been a lot of damage after festivals a few times. With these investments, the subsoil can be made more solid, for example, so that the park can better support a festival.

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