The center of The Hague, and especially the area around the Plein and the Grote Markt, have for years been the place where residents of The Hague and Hagenees come to enjoy a snack, drink and music. But not all residents of the center are happy about this. The many complaints now lead to hefty fines at many catering establishments.

Various matters on and around the Grote Markt receive one warning after another fine, Marco Bijsterbosch, programmer and festival organizer of the Grote Markt, told indebuurt. “The noise standards for businesses in the nightlife center of The Hague are simply much too low, the music can’t be any quieter.”

Salsa music on the lowest setting

“In 2021 complaints have already been received about our salsa evenings on Wednesdays in the Boterwaag, we then stopped dancing for more than a year,” says Marco. “We first received a warning, then the owners spent ‘an awful lot’ on insulation.

It is simply an old building and the noise standard in this neighborhood is just as low as in a neighborhood in Mariahoeve, for example. That shouldn’t be the case in a nightlife area.”

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Photo: Stadscafe de butterwaag

Despite the measures, there are still complaints about the salsa music being too loud, according to neighbors of the popular business on the Grote Markt, and Marco now walks around with a sound meter every day. “I don’t feel like more fines and sometimes turn the music down myself. But on a salsa evening it is not the intention that you hear entire conversations from each other, then you have to dance, for that you have to hear music.”

Zèta has already lost her identity

Bee eatery Zèta on the Grote Markt received so many complaints that the music there can now not be louder due to the use of a limiter. “It’s a shame. We first received a warning, then two fines of 5.02 euro each on the mat and then came the mandatory limiter.

It was a place where I liked to stage for young DJs, but the music couldn’t be louder than background level. As a result, the entire identity is gone.”

The Hague’s entertainment policy

In addition to Zèta and the Boterwaag, the Paard, Rootz, the Koorenhuis and other catering establishments in the area suffer from the complaints. “I want to say to complainants: realize that you live in a nightlife area. It really doesn’t go away by complaining. Complaining alone ruins the fun of tens of thousands of others. That is extremely selfish.”

Marco also has a solution for the complaints. “The municipality is now writing plans for the night culture in The Hague. But then something needs to change ‘at the front’ first, namely raising the volume standard in nightlife areas. The music doesn’t have to be on blood from your ears , but a party does need some volume. Despite the measures and paying attention to the volume, we go over ‘the norm’, we can’t do less, otherwise there will be nothing left to party. Otherwise there will not be an attractive nightlife policy in The Hague.”

Heavy fines at café De Vink

Also a few doors away, at Café de Vink on Schoolstraat ( a side street of the Grote Markt) the fines and fines have recently been pouring in. “I know exactly who they are,” says owner Kees Vegers. “

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