A large group of people gathered Saturday at an arena in Amsterdam to dance, invited by the government as part of a social experiment.
The dance was one in a series of experiments conducted by Fieldlab, an initiative set up by the government and the entertainment industry.
All 1,300 people at the event were split into five groups with different rules. Some had to wear face masks, while others were encouraged to shout and cheer as much as possible. Everyone was equipped with sensors to monitor how much contact they had with others.
“I am in a state of great excitement,” said DJ Lady Bee who performed at the dance, “It feels almost like normal.”
The Netherlands is known internationally for its electronic dance music festivals, with industry group Event Maker saying it’s an $8 billion industry. One annual event in Amsterdam alone features more than 2,000 DJs in 80 clubs The Amsterdam Dance Event is still scheduled for October this year.
The hope is that Saturday’s test will help determine ways events like the dance festival might safely reopen to crowds. The main focus was on people’s behavior and whether they followed the rules.
“We are actually testing here if the people adhere to the measures that we requested from them, ” said Pieter Lubberts of Fieldlab Events.
People won tickets to attend the dance. 100,000 people entered to win. Everyone had to have a negative COVID-19 test ahead of the dance, and all will be tested five days after.
Fieldlab earlier conducted other experiments involving a business conference, a football game and a theater show. A small number of attendees tested positive for coronavirus since, but there is no evidence that they contracted the virus at the events.
A music festival is taking place in the Netherlands, despite the rest of the country being under a lockdown.
The two-day experiment aims to see if there’s a safe way to allow large-scale social gatherings to restart, without increasing the spread of the virus.
The BBC’s Anna Holligan went to the festival in Biddinghuizen near Amsterdam.