Enforcers (non-cops) have had to crack down on an improvised pétanque (called ‘jeu de boules’ in Dutch, aka boules in English, so all French words) tournament on the Museumplein in Amsterdam South. Some 300 players were going at it, but they didn’t have a permit to do so and the fun was over.
The whole idea was to throw a few balls, but the enforcers were not convinced. The district authorities for this rather posh neighbourhood also said that the pétanque players needed to have a permit for any ‘event’ over 100 participants. ‘Safety cannot be guaranteed. The balls are heavy and there are children around. And there’s a basketball court as well.’
There are a lot of pétanque courts in Amsterdam – I say this without any statistics, but knowing they are scattered over the city, including one about 300 metres from my house. But yeah, 300 people is definitely too big a gathering legally speaking. And before anyone laughs at the heavy balls argument: I have vivid memories of losing a toenail from dropping one of those metal balls on my foot when I was six.