fireworks [noun] [het vuurwerk, <no plural>]

In the Netherlands it is common that people let off their own fireworks. Since fireworks is not cheap, some people complain about the waste of money that could have been spent on more useful things or on the less fortunate people on this planet.
Fireworks is usually sold in the Netherlands from the 28th of December till the 31st. Safety laws are strict for the shops that sell fireworks, and not all fireworks are allowed by Dutch law. For this reason border control between the Netherlands and Belgium is enforced in this time of the year, since more dangerous fireworks are allowed in Belgium and people try to bring it into the Netherlands.

– “Op oudejaarsavond wordt om twaalf uur vuurwerk afgestoken.”
(“At New Year’s Eve, fireworks are let off at twelve o’clock.”)

– “Veel kinderen steken al eerder dan twaalf uur klein vuurwerk af, zoals rotjes.”
(“Many kids let off small fireworks earlier than twelve o’clock, like firecrackers.”)

– “In Nederland mag vuurwerk alleen worden afgestoken op 31 december vanaf 10 uur ‘s ochtends tot ‘s nachts 2 uur.”
(“In the Netherlands, fireworks are only allowed to be let off at December 31st from ten o’clock in the morning till two o’clock at night.”)

– “De discussie die ik gisteren met haar had, man…vuurwerk!”
(“The discussion I had with her yesterday, man…fireworks!”)

Related words:
– “Jaarwisseling”: turn of the year.
– “Rotje”: firecracker.
– “Strijker”: heavy (illegal) firecracker, literally “striker”.
– “Gillende keukenmeid”: whizzer, literally: “screaming kitchen maid” 🙂
– “Vreugdevuur”: bonfire.

The Dutch city of Den Haag is notorious for its high amount of bonfires after New Year’s Eve. Some neighbourhoods are temporarily changed into warzones. Because not all fires can be prevented, the authorities allow bonfires at certain locations under certain circumstances. Not many people stick to those rules though…;-)

Every year the Dutch government makes an effort to warn teenagers for the dangers of fireworks. With all the “common” violence on tv and in videogames, realistic commercials with blown off fingers do not have so much impact anymore. This year, the Dutch government tries to get the message across by creating a web site with a fictitious Chinese guy explaining the dangers in YouTube like videos. Check it out at