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It was possible to do your hair and nails at the Vang Gogh museum in Amsterdam today, as part of the protest action Kapsalon Theater

Museums become gyms, beauty salons in protest against Covid-restrictions in The Netherlands

Museums become gyms, beauty salons in protest against Covid-restrictions in The Netherlands

The move faced a lot of criticism by local mayors

Earlier today, about a hundred cultural institutions in The Netherlands have opened their doors to the public as gyms, beauty salons in a protest move, local media report. The coordinated action, which involves some of the biggest cultural institutions, challenges the anti-Covid restrictions announced by Prime Minister Mark Rutte last week.

The new measures allow the reopening of shops and contact professions such as hairdressers, massage and beauty salons, even sex workers, but not the cultural sector nor the bars and restaurants.

Would you do your hair in the theatre?

The mass action called Kapsalon Theater (hairsalon theatre) or Museum Gym was organised by Museum Association and local actors, as a reaction to the “inconsistent” restrictions, DutchNews reports. The action was further encouraged as PM Rutte and some local mayors have reportedly claimed that brief protest openings of bars was a demonstration right and closures would not be enforced.

Accordingly, to accentuate on the unequal treatment of cultural institutions, their directors set up brief protest actions today, by temporarily becoming establishments offering services for which restrictions were levied. For instance, in De Kleine Komedie theatre in Amsterdam, hairdressers were put on stage and the hall was turned into a ‘waiting room’ with comic acts.

Many museums joined the action by allowing visitors to practice sports inside and giving ‘mental booster’ sessions, pilates, yoga, and mindfulness sessions, while about 60 theatres have transformed themselves into hairdresser salons.

The Utrecht Museum Speelklok made the heaviest organs (musical instruments) in the museum available to visitors, so that they could do their 'work out' routines. Interestingly, the famous Van Gogh Museum offered haircuts and manicures, including Van Gogh-inspired nail art for just 30 euros.

Cultural institutions demand equal treatment in the re-opening policy as their spaces guarantee enough distance between visitors, who line up and enter only with valid certificates. In their opinion, they cannot be deemed to be riskier than closed spaces such as large shops, which accept much more visitors.

Several Dutch mayors, including Amsterdam’s Femke Halsema have previously announced their disapproval of the action and promised to enforce checks and eventually – closures - of the transgressing cultural institutions.

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