The explosion occurred at a corona test center in the town of Bovenkarspel, 55 kilometers north of Amsterdam. There was an explosive charge that went off at the center at 06.55 this morning, before the center opened for the day.
Several windows were shattered as a result of the pressure. According to the police, a security guard was present inside the center when the explosion took place, but he escaped unharmed.
Police describe the explosion as a targeted attack, and are looking for more explosive devices in and around the center, reports the Dutch broadcaster U.S.
Police officers who are at the scene have found various pieces of the explosive charge, pieces of metal of around 10 times 10 centimeters, police spokesman Menno Hartenberg told the news agency Reuters.
Bomb experts are involved to examine the pieces.
Hard hit by the corona
The region where the rural town of Bovenkarspel is located currently has one of the country’s largest corona outbreaks, with 181 cases of infection per 100,000 inhabitants. The national average is 27 per 100,000.
One of the hospitals in the region has had to transport patients to hospitals elsewhere in the country because they have run out of intensive care units.
Other test centers that have been attacked
In January, another test center, in the fishing village of Urk in the north of the country, was set on fire.
It happened in connection with protests in a number of cities against the night gate, which was introduced on January 23 this year.
The curfew – the first since World War II – is intended to limit people’s mobility and prevent the spread of infection.
The attitude towards the health authorities has increased sharply since the beginning of 2021, and the head of the country’s public health institute is now followed by bodyguards during public appearances.
The protests against the curfew have been the most violent in many years. Businesses have been looted, cars set on fire and police officers have been attacked with stones and fireworks.
Although some of the strictest coronary restrictions were eased today, the curfew has been extended until 15 March.
It will therefore still not be allowed to move outside between 21.00 in the evening and until 04.30 in the morning. The exceptions are those who work in socially critical occupations, and those who have to air the dog.
Violation of the curfew is punishable by a fine of 95 euros, just under 1,000 Norwegian kroner. A large majority of Dutch people comply with the curfew.
An appeals court in February gave the government permission to extend the curfew, after a district court in The Hague ruled that the authorities had no legal basis to impose a national curfew.
It was the group Viruswaarheid, or “Virus Truth”, that had filed the lawsuit for the curfew. The group has led the opposition to infection control measures in the Netherlands.
But for the first time since December, hairdressers and shops that sell other than essential goods today could open to a limited number of customers.
Bars and restaurants on the other hand have not been up since October.
The explosion at the test center comes 14 days before the Dutch go to the polls for a new national assembly.
The election is expected to be more or less a referendum on the government’s handling of the corona pandemic.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is one of the EU’s most prominent and longest-serving prime ministers. It is expected that the Conservative party, led by Rutte, will once again be the largest party in the election, and the one tasked with forming a new government.