Netherlands. On New Year's Eve, a fire broke out in a
crowded disco in Volendam, probably since Santa Claus
ignited Christmas decorations. A total of eleven young
people perished due to the fire and 180 were injured.
tragedy sparked debate about the safety of public premises,
especially as it turned out that only one emergency exit was
open when the accident occurred.
In March, the first cases of dreaded foot-and-mouth
disease were found in cows and sheep. The government decided
to vaccinate animals, unlike in the United Kingdom where the
disease was first discovered and where mass slaughter was
instead used. The EU banned the export of cloven animals and
In April, violent outbreaks erupted near the village of
Kootwijkerbroek when farmers protested the slaughter that
was being ordered where infected animals were discovered.
Kravall police were forced to take on water cannons,
excavators and dogs to get through barriers. In total, 26
cases of the disease were found in the country before the
danger blew over in July and export restrictions were
lifted. About 265,000 animals were then slaughtered for
In April, the Netherlands became the first in the world
to give gay couples the right to marry under the same
conditions as heterosexuals, even in the case of eg.
adoption and divorce. However, the law only applied to the
nation's citizens. In addition, the Senate finally approved
the law that made the Netherlands the first country in the
world where euthanasia became legal and would start to apply
from the turn of the year. Thus, in practice, what has
already been practiced for decades in the country was
In August, Prime Minister Wim Kok announced that he did
not intend to run for a third term in the 2002 elections.