On Thursday, many Dutch people came again to Antwerp to avoid the lockdown in their country. It’s busy on the road and on the train. Police say 14 people were arrested in two separate battles.
The trip to Antwerp on Thursday led to traffic jams and slow driving, especially on the E19 motorway, including at the border crossing and Leuenhout. The Flemish traffic center again advocated not to enter Antwerp city center by car, but to leave it at one of the Park + Ride stops outside the city.
However, many cruise-goers again ignored this good advice and traveled to central Antwerp en masse. This caused traffic jams in Leien and dangerous situations at some busy points.
Many Dutch people have also traveled to Antwerp by train in recent days. The Federal Police estimates that nearly 6,400 Dutch tourists got off the train on Tuesday. On Wednesday, January 29, there were more than 7,600 passengers. The number of other Dutch train passengers is expected to reach 6,500 on Thursday.
Extra crowd control
To ensure the smooth flow of passengers, the Federal Police works closely with Securail and Antwerp Police, among others. All services deploy additional employees. “In consultation with the NMBS, trains to and from the Netherlands are spread across different platforms in order to separate passenger flows,” says the Federal Police.
After the shops closed, many tourists, including many families with children, returned to the Netherlands. From 6 p.m., the security services will focus more on crowd control at the station and on the platforms. “In the following hours, it usually stays very busy with a crowd of young travelers, sometimes groups of young people who are somewhat under the influence,” police said. “The security services will continue to be present until the last trains leave for the Netherlands around 11 pm.”
So far there have been no major accidents. Although the police had to intervene in two battles. A total of 14 people were arrested. Seven Dutch and two Belgians participated in the first battle near the Grote Markt. One person ended up in the hospital. The second battle took place on Valsky, in which five Dutchmen took part. At the beginning of January there will be an assessment of the process with all the services involved, led by the Crisis Center and in the presence of Antwerp Governor Cathy Birx.
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