The Dutch Easter flame

Crowd by a fire Credit: Gabriel Mihalcea, Pexels

Every Easter the Netherlands lights up in grand fires to celebrate Easter a tradition which has existed for at least 30 years. But will it survive today?

On Easter Sundays, municipalities across the Netherlands make great efforts to host the largest and most spectacular fires but with the recent nitrogen measures across Europe, the celebratory custom is being questioned. 

Now the focus appears to be not on the grandeur of the fire but on its safety. Yet, despite the stricter rules, Easter fire continues to play a vital role in the festivity. 

In recent years, the provinces have had to pay nitrogen costs to hold the celebration. In many regions, including Overijssel and Gelderland these have been funded by the locals to preserve the tradition.  

“Easter fires have a long tradition and provide solidarity,” said the spokesperson of Gelderland to the Press.

But not only is there concern for the environment but also the people. 

The Public Health Institute, RIVM, warned about the Easter practice: “People with lung diseases such as asthma and COPD, and (older) people with cardiovascular disease may suffer.”

 Due to the lack of wind, health specialists argue that the air becomes dangerous for many citizens, and these fires should be avoided.

It is not clear how this tradition began but is linked to rebirth and a sacrament in remembrance of the Resurrection of Jesus; a celebration of light, like lighting a candle but on a much larger scale.

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.


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