Whatever it was they were afraid of – it did not happen. No anarchist army trying to storm the city, no one trying to climb those fences or crash into those barricades. Just a lot of curious Dutch people with their bikes or on foot, standing around and hoping for a glimpse of someone important arriving for the Nuclear Security Summit.
Apart from that, empty streets. No traffic chaos. Apparently they really scared everyone off, the warnings have worked. On Monday morning the city stayed in Sunday mode. While biking to school with the boys I had to suppress the urge to check if it was really Monday.
Exceptionally nice traffic wardens and police men (in black combat uniform!) showed us where we were allowed to cycle and were not. They smiled, wished us a good day and were open for chats. The only thing disturbing the peace was the constant hum of the helicopters circling the area, until late at night.
On Tuesday, some cars ventured into the streets again, but still too few to cause serious problems. While cycling back from school in the afternoon we did encounter an annoying situation though: The police suddenly started to block one of the (officially open) side roads – someone important apparently needed to drive there. So we had to turn and ride back quite a bit and make a detour. Older boy sighed but did not complain. Younger boy was munching a cookie on his seat on my bike. (He complained later that he had gotten cold though… he did not like those policemen so much.)
Tuesday evening the helicopters stopped and it seemed that this was the end of the NSS for us.
Except for the fact that the fences and barricades were still there. It had taken some time to built them up, so naturally it will take some time to take them down again. Which goes without saying – and therefore no one had really mentioned it (or is it possible that they just thought it would sound too bad… having to live with blocked roads for a week instead of 2-4 days?)
So on Wednesday morning everyone took out their cars again, and we all found ourselves in a huge traffic jam after all. Hurray.
P.S. If I remember it correctly the whole thing cost more than 20 million Euro… I don’t know how much of that sum went into the fences and barricades…. but I think they could have saved some money there…