Knife ban in Amsterdam – also an idea for Maastricht?

Gemeente Amsterdam: "The number of stabbing incidents, especially among young people, remains a major concern in Amsterdam. Many schools are also concerned and have asked the gemeente (municipality) for action. In consultation with the driehoek* , Burgemeester (mayor) Halsema has therefore decided to ban knives throughout the city from 1 July 2023. The ban comes on top of measures already in place to combat gun possession and violence.

Currently, there is a knife ban in certain areas where there is a lot of reported disruption. In these areas, police can fine people carrying knives and take away their knife. This will change. From 1 July 2023, the ban will apply throughout the city and the police will therefore be allowed to issue fines for carrying knives anywhere in the city. Incidentally, the police may not conduct preventive searches to see if anyone is carrying a knife.

Which knives are, which are not?
In many stabbings, the perpetrators use stabbing weapons that are not prohibited by the Wet wapens en munitie (Weapons and Ammunition Act). These include pocket knives and kitchen knives. The new ban also applies to these types of utility knives. Other objects that can be used as stabbing weapons and that are not ingepakt (foldable) are also now prohibited. A knife or other pointed object that is fully ingepakt (such as a pocket knife or Stanley / boxcutter knife) is allowed to be carried on the street.

Professionals and schools are concerned about gun ownership and gun use among young people. Weapons are used in criminal activities. Some youth groups glorify gun ownership and see it as status enhancing. However, young people also report that they arm themselves because they fear becoming a stabbing victim. Schools are concerned about violence between pupils that takes place outside schools. This can also have consequences at school. Clarity that all knives are banned anywhere in the city helps schools talk and teach about the risks of gun violence at school.

National development
Not only in Amsterdam are there concerns about stabbing gun violence among young people. The Ministerie van Justitie en Veiligheid (Ministry of Justice and Security) is working on a bill banning the carrying of certain designated utility knives in public places and prohibiting the sale of such knives to minors. Other cities have also recently introduced blanket knife bans."

This article is a translation of a press release published on the Gemeente Amsterdam website.

Politie Maastricht

Photo: Politie Maastricht

* The driehoek (triangle) of a particular area is the consultative body between the representatives of police, public prosecutor and local government in the Netherlands.