The Dutch, cutting arts, are spending 1 billion tax Euros a year on fireworks

The Dutch, cutting arts, are spending 1 billion tax Euros a year on fireworks


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2011

An economist in Holland has worked out the true cost of the country’s love of pyrotechnic displays on New Year’s Eve, most of which are paid for by the taxpayer, directly or indirectly.

According to Benn Bernmann every 1 Euro spent by a consumer, another 16 Euro has to be spent by the Dutch government to rectify damages, injuries and waste caused by the fireworks. Approximately 960 million is the cost of emergency medical help for fireworks injuries and damage to property. Damage to the environment is not included in his estimate, which dates back to December 2008 and has been retrieved by arts campaigners.

So here’s the Slipped Disc solution: put a Dutch cap on all fireworks until 2015, and watch the arts put on a real show with the saved revenue.

Read on here (in Dutch).


  • AVI says:

    Sadly it’s rarely that simple.
    In order to make large numbers like this, one generally finds that report authors include all manner of fixed and sunk costs, rather than purely those which could be actually reduced or eliminated.
    There’s nothing really wrong with that; but it is wrong to draw the conclusion that all those costs could be saved.

    As an example, medical costs are likely to include the costs of buying & running ambulances, hospitals, doctors’ salaries etc.; but a substantial proportion of these costs are fixed. I.E. even without some fireworks, the taxpayer would still be liable for maintaining a given fleet of ambulances and their staff, a hospital building… etc.
    Indeed, it would be bizarre if the costs were really anything as high as the headline figure and yet more was not taken in direct taxation on firework sales, or via manufacturers or import duties to offset.

  • Jurgen wolff says:

    I’m sure this figure includes the salaries of firefighters, ambulance workers annd many others who would be paid whether or not they are dealing with fireworks. as MarknTwain pointed out, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

  • elisabeth says:

    It has made me sad every year- but this time this madness seems even worse. Maybe this abuse of fireworks illustrates the exact state of mind of the government. Never before have I heard so many bangs and explosions as this year, and it started from the summer onwards. It speaks of destruction of all we used to hold dear, were proud of. Civilisation is fragile crystal and it is being shattered.

  • danielmclion says:

    Surprised? I am not. 🙂