Looking for a manicure in Amsterdam? Stop by the van Gogh Museum.
On Wednesday, museums and theaters in the Netherlands temporarily turned themselves into salons and gyms in protest over continued coronavirus restrictions on the arts sector. All non-essential businesses in the country have been closed since late December in an attempt to slow a surge in cases that threatened to overwhelm its intensive care facilities.
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Last week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte reduced restrictions on some non-essential businesses, such as hairdressers, gyms, and brothels, but said that museums, cinemas, and other entertainment venues would remain closed. In response, dozens of arts organizations launched a protest dubbed “Theater Hairdresser,” in which some would reopen their doors as gyms and salons. The van Gogh Museum offered haircuts, beard trims, and Van Gogh–inspired nail art. The Amsterdam Museum offered yoga classes, while some chose aerobics at the Frans Hals Museum.
“With this we draw attention to the dire situation in the cultural sector and the need to reopen the museums as soon as possible. We know it’s safe and we like to show it to everyone,” the organizers’ website said.
Limited admission to the event was free, but the barbers and nail artists were paid for their services. At some venues, Dutch professional performers provided entertainment. People receiving haircuts at Amsterdam’s royal concert hall, for example, were serenaded by classical music.
In the Netherlands, daily infections have risen to record high levels: nearly 243,000 new virus cases were documented over the past week, according to data published by the government. However, intensive care admissions and fatalities are falling. Thousands of demonstrators packed into Amsterdam’s streets earlier this month in protest of the lockdown measures, which are among the toughest in Europe right now.