On the 14th of September, it was announced that on the 25th of September, nightclubs and discos were allowed to open their doors again, but only until 00:00. Since March 2020, discotheques and nightclubs have been closed in the Netherlands. This is the result of the measures taken to curb the number of coronas infections. So how are the Dutch discotheques currently doing?

Even before the Corona Crisis, there was a decline in the number of discotheques. More and more discotheques changed their concept from one with a DJ where the nightly audience comes to dance to the possibility to have breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. This trend called ‘blurring’ is one of the main reasons that discotheques have declined. Simply put, the traditional discotheques are disappearing and making way for new concepts where activities can also be done during the day.

Another explanation for the decrease in discotheques is the growth of the festival sector. Whereas in 2012 there were still 130 dance festivals held annually, in 2019 there were 1,124. Amsterdam Dance Event attracted 400,000 visitors in 2019 (200,000 in 2012), who came to see over 2,500 artists. According to research conducted by ING, the average spending at a festival is approximately €150, which is 10 times higher than the average spending in a discotheque. Due to the large amount of money spent on these types of festivals, it can be explained why people do not also go to discotheques.

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So how are the discotheques doing during the Corona crisis? In 2021, we see a stabilising picture in terms of openings and closures. In some provinces, a positive development can be seen. This positive development is best seen in North Holland and South Holland, striking is that Limburg is doing well. The expectation was that the number of discotheques would drop sharply. Limburg does relatively well compared to the other provinces ‘below the rivers’; North Brabant (-4%) and Zeeland (-17%) see a significant part of their discotheques close. Furthermore, in many provinces it remained stable this year compared to 2020, this could possibly be due to the government’s regulations to help these businesses.

The stabilisation in 2021 could perhaps be due to increased confidence among business owners, with COVID (and therefore the measures) are slowly but surely disappearing. Hopefully, these latest regulations will bring some relief to the discotheques in the Netherlands.