Volendam New Year's fire

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Volendam New Year's fire
Volendam New Years Fire.jpg
Rescue operations after the fire
Date January 1, 2001 (2001-01-01)
Location Volendam, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°29′58″N 5°4′3″E / 52.49944°N 5.06750°E / 52.49944; 5.06750Coordinates: 52°29′58″N 5°4′3″E / 52.49944°N 5.06750°E / 52.49944; 5.06750
Type Fire
Deaths 14
Non-fatal injuries 241

The Volendam New Year's fire was a café fire in the Dutch town of Volendam in the 2000–2001 New Year's night. The fire began early on New Year's Day 2001 and caused the death of 14 young people.[1] There were in all 241 people admitted to hospital,[2] 200 of whom suffered serious burns.[1]


The fire took place in a building where three cafés were located.[3] On New Year's Eve the cafés were packed with more than 350 young people between 13 and 27 years of age[2] when a short blaze happened in the café De Hemel ("Heaven") which was located on the top floor[3] after a sparkler hit Christmas decorations that hung from the ceiling.[4] The temperature in the room reached 400 °C (752 °F).[2] There was great panic and the heat, lack of oxygen and people falling over each other made escaping extremely difficult. There also were bars in front of the windows and there were too few emergency exits, all of which contributed to the high number of injuries.[3]

The first report reached the Amsterdam ambulance service CPA at 00:38 CET on 1 January. The first fire engine arrived at 00:46 CET.[3]

Monument for the victims of the New Year's fire in Volendam


The fire was investigated intensively by media and politicians. New rules were introduced for decorations in cafés, nightclubs and other venues.[5] The owner and managers of the building were indicted for culpability.[6] An inquiry showed the owner Jan Veerman had been negligent in providing escape routes as well as failing to inundate the Christmas decorations with a fire-resistant substance, and that there were too many people in the building at the time of the incident. The owner was convicted to a conditional prison sentence and community service.[7] As a result of the inquiry the Mayor of Edam-Volendam Frank IJsselmuiden and the alderman Wim Visscher resigned their positions.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reconstruction of the fire in "De Hemel" in Volendam, New Years Eve 2000/2001, S. M. Öhlin Lostetter and P.B. Reijman, TNO Centre for Fire Research, The Netherlands & P.H.E. van de Leur, DGMR Consulting Engineers, The Netherlands
  2. ^ a b c The Volendam Fire: Lessons Learned from Disaster Research, Sabine M. van Harten MD, Joost J.L.M. Bierens MD et al., Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, September–October 2006 p.304
  3. ^ a b c d (Dutch) 1 januari 2001: Cafébrand Volendam, Zwaailichten disaster website
  4. ^ Blaze victims tell of fight for life, BBC News, 2 January 2001
  5. ^ (Dutch) NVBR: Politiek wakker geschud na brand Volendam, Reformatorisch Dagblad, 22 November 2010
  6. ^ Verdict in Volendam Fire Disaster on 18 July, Dutch News Digest 7 March 2003
  7. ^ (Dutch) Werkstraf voor Jan Veerman, De Volkskrant, 18 July 2003
  8. ^ (Dutch) Volendam in teken herdenking cafébrand, Het Parool, 1 January 2011