Patrick Arends

'hoogste vuur ooit' - December 2013

One of the best traditions in The Netherlands must be the New Year's Eve Bon Fire night. Especially in my hometown The Hague's fishermen's borough called Scheveningen!

Originally, each neighbourhood would build their own bon fire, competing for the tallest stack and the highest fire. After years, this got completely out of hand, where teams were spying on other teams to find out where they hide their stash, and raid it overnight... (more)

​The council stepped in, and decided to get the hoods to work together for an even bigger fire. Smart thinking!

Local companies sponsor the event, in return they are allowed to pin up their banners. Even bespoke hoodies are made, with the following text: 'hoogste vuur ooit' (highest fire ever), and the voluntary workers are very proud to wear them. The stack of palets takes days to build. Without gloves of course - because 'gloves are for girls'.

This year's stack is the largest ever and it's estimated to take a day and a half to burn down. Health & safety is obviously completely ignored (bless the Dutch!). The police is 'supervising' and the fire brigade helps stacking the palets, as they are the professionals. It's a great family event!

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