15 October 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Regardless of whether you’re a bit of a grinch or you’re Christmas-obsessed, it remains true that supermarkets that sell pepernoten and the oliebollenkramen are already back. This can mean only one thing: the Christmas holidays are fast approaching.

But as the Netherlands – and the rest of Europe – faces an energy crisis and rising prices for gas and electricity, businesses are looking for ways to cut costs, and the sad fact is that Christmas lights and decorations are some of the first luxuries to be scrapped this winter.

Cancelling Christmas to save energy and limit costs?

It’s a fairly controversial decision that has already been taken by one Swiss supermarket, and the advice to ditch unnecessary lights, or “lighting orgies” has been issued in both Germany and Switzerland, but now it seems as though the Netherlands could be the next country to make some tough decisions when it comes to festive decorations. 

Speaking to NOS, a representative from the city of Emmen said that completely ditching Christmas lights was “really unmentionable,” especially after the past two years saw holiday celebrations hindered by the coronavirus pandemic. But, measures will be taken across various Dutch cities in order to limit energy consumption.

Fewer lights in Groningen, Nijmegen and Deventer

In Groningen, officials have opted to cut the “burning hours,” so instead of lights being switched on from 1pm through to midnight, they’ll only be burning from 3pm till 9pm. Similarly, in Nijmegen, lights will only burn for six hours a day throughout an 11-week period, instead of eight hours for 13 weeks. This should cut energy consumption by more than 35 percent. 

Meanwhile in Deventer, in addition to limiting the number hours, they’re reducing the number of lights by about half, and have scrapped decoration for around 120 trees and buildings. In Den Bosch, on the other hand, the city has opted for decorations to go ahead as normal: “Those dark months are already dark enough,” Monique de Klein from entrepreneurs’ association Hartje ‘s Hertogenbosch told NOS

One university professor from Utrecht also pointed out that by reducing or removing Christmas lights from high streets and city centres, businesses would likely also suffer from a significant loss in customers. “Shops are not going to make it with their prices compared to the internet…If a street doesn’t look good, people won’t shop there either,” Maarten Hajer explains.

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