Gimbrere Legal doesn’t only stand for providing legal solutions, but also for preserving culture. One of the most talked about events in The Hague are the bonfires. Every year on New Year’s Eve, a pile of wooden pallets is set on fire on the beach in Scheveningen, but where does this tradition actually come from?
History and development
The bonfire has its roots in the illegal Christmas tree burnings in various neighborhoods in Scheveningen in the 1940s and 1950s. Rausing, as the gathering of Christmas trees was called, also involved disputes between the neighbourhoods. But it was precisely the social aspect that was very important. Young people went on a Christmas tree hunt together and tried to outdo other neighborhoods by making bigger and bigger fires. Local residents met each other during the construction of the stack and the feeling of togetherness was great. Fights, burglaries and vandalism led the municipality of The Hague to ban the various bonfires in the late 1980s. The municipality now proposed to the neighborhoods to make a fire together on the Noorderstrand. Reluctantly, the Scheveningen agreed, on the condition that the fire could be as high as possible.
The infighting in the neighborhoods was replaced by an organized battle on the beach. The event was soon called Bonfire Scheveningen Noorderstrand. It now became a battle for the ‘highest fire‘ between the only two remaining bonfires in Scheveningen: the Noorderstrand of Scheveningen Dorp and the Zuiderstrand of the Scheveningen urban district Duindorp.
Every year from 27 to 31 December, part of the population of Scheveningen is busy organizing two large bonfires, that of the Noorderstrand and that of Duindorp. Noorderstrand will compete with its southern neighbors on Duindorp to see who can build the highest bonfire.
The winner of this tradition is entitled to the title of ‘highest bonfire in the Netherlands’ for a year. In the last days of December, tens of thousands of pallets are brought to the beach and stacked according to a certain system. Here hundreds of volunteers, young and old, work together to make the pile as high as possible. Many people take special time off during this week to be able to help. The organizers of the bonfire ensure that the purchased and sponsored pallets are taken to the beach by vans. The construction of the bonfire is not only during the day, there is also work in the evening and at night, rain or shine. Around midnight on New Year’s Eve, the time has come: the huge pile is set on fire and the whole of Scheveningen celebrates New Year’s Eve together on the beach.
Gimbrere Legal The Hague is proud to have been able to support this beautiful tradition this year.