An open-air swimming complex in the Netherlands has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of reported nuisances, primarily by young visitors of a migration background, after introducing strict measures restricting access.
The De Vliegende Vaart swimming pool in Terneuzen, located in the Zeeland province close to the Belgian border, felt compelled to introduce draconian ID requirements for visitors to the complex after longstanding issues with harassment of women and girls and other anti-social behavior.
“Fortunately I have not experienced it myself, but I know from acquaintances that their daughter has been harassed,” one visitor told De Telegraaf. “That’s horrible. As a girl, you are already vulnerable in swimwear, and if you are then groped by a group, it is very traumatizing.”
Tamara, a supervisor at one of the open-air pools in the area told the same newspaper that the majority of the problems came from large groups of young Moroccan Belgians who would cross the border to attend the complex due to the strict access requirements imposed by similar facilities in Belgium.
“If you address one of them about annoying behavior, 10 friends will immediately join them,” she said. “It’s terribly intimidating. They not only harass young girls but also mothers with children. And small children,” she added.
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Ronald Groothaert, the team leader of sports facilities within the Zeeland province who is responsible for the swimming pools, spoke of how young migrants would often evade ticket gates and enter the facilities where they would frequently fight, dump rubbish, and even defecate in bushes.
Security guards now patrol the swimming pools in Zeeland and request driver’s licenses and passports from prospective visitors. Some complexes have even resorted to membership requirements to ensure those entering the facility are properly identifiable, even though this often results in lower profits with foot traffic from tourists being turned away.
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Alderman Laszlo van de Voorde van Terneuzen told De Telegraaf the new measures have worked. “We have not experienced any more nuisances. We hope for a safe and enjoyable summer for our staff and local visitors,” he added.
Migrant violence at swimming pool complexes has made national headlines across the border in Germany recently, particularly in Berlin. One complex was shut down for an entire week last month after a number of employees called in sick with stress due to dealing with large groups of delinquents.
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Employees of the Berlin Columbiabad in the borough of Neukölln described how visitors, “mainly Arab migrants and Chechens,” were engaging in the sexual harassment of women and mass brawls on the premises, while also leaving the complexes in disgusting conditions.
Also last month, footage circulated on social media showing an enraged crowd at a swimming complex in the southern Polish city of Bytom demanding punishment for four detained Georgian migrants accused of “engaging in inappropriate behavior” toward minors.
French media also reported last month that an Afghan migrant had been indicted for the alleged rape of a disabled 15-year-old girl at a public swimming pool in the city of Strasbourg back in May, as well as for the sexual assault of three females, including two 15-year-old girls.