Waalre mayor flouts anti-corona rules

This is the damning photo. Photo credit: Studio040

The Mayor, of all people, should stick to the rules, not so? Not Mayor Jan Brenninkmeijer of Waalre, it seems.

He’s responsible for, among other things, overseeing anti-corona measures in the hospitality industry. Yet, he appears not to comply so strictly with these rules himself. Studio040 has a photo that shows just that. It’s been verified by three councillors.

In June, the Mayor was photographed, singing, inside a pub. He stood at the bar, not keeping the required 1.5m distance. This happened after a council meeting on 9 June.


The councillors went to the local Stationskoffiehuis. This is a café just a few minutes’ walk from Waalre Town Hall. The Mayor stood inside, at the bar, together with several coalition chairmen.

It was Daan Damen, the leader of the VVD coalition party’s local faction’s birthday. “The Mayor, some politicians and others present loudly serenaded him“, one of the councillors, who wants to remain anonymous, says.

“The Mayor stood right next to a group of men. Singing and laughing. Not just for a moment, but it went on for a long time”, one of the other councillors says.

Strict rules

To limit the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible, strict rules apply in the hospitality industry. These include a ban on singing. Guests must sit at a table and, as far as possible, keep 1.5m apart.

The ‘scene of the crime ‘. Photo credit: Google Maps

This is also not an isolated incident. A few weeks later, on 20 June, there was another council meeting. With drinks at the Stationskoffiehuis again.

And again, the Mayor and various politicians didn’t abide by these rules. This is the incident captured on film, that Studio040 now has.


Yet, strict rules apply at the Town Hall in Waalre. Walking routes are marked with arrows on the ground. Everyone has to wash their hands, and everything is thoroughly disinfected.

Ushers strictly supervise the observance of the rules. “Apparently all those rules are only for show”, one of the councillors says. “Once the cameras are off, all the rules are broken.”

“What kind of example do you set for your residents? If even the Mayor doesn’t obey the rules?”, the politician asks. A fellow coalition councillor is unhappy too.

‘Should’ve said something’

But for a different reason. He doesn’t like that Brenninkmeijer’s photo was taken in the café when he broke the rules. “It would have been better if the photographer informed the Mayor and the others present.”

The council didn’t have any comment on the photo’s content. However, a spokesperson did say: “The Mayor’s on holiday, and can’t be disturbed now. We can’t imagine he deliberately violated the anti-corona rules.”

Five people have died from COVID-19 in Waalre so far. Image credit: Dung Tran/Pixabay

“He’s been working full-time lately to ensure that the measures are properly monitored”. In April, Brenninkmeijer told Studio040 that the anti-corona rules in his municipality are being followed very well. Between the end of February and 11 August, 33 people in Waalre became infected with the coronavirus.

That’s according to the National Health Department figures. Seven people were admitted to hospital. Five inhabitants of Waalre died from this disease.

Under fire

But, Mayor Jan Brenninkmeijer has also been under fire recently. Opposition parties and the town’s councillors no longer have confidence in him. But, associations in the village do support him.

This week, a group of Waalre citizens started a petition supporting Brenninkmeijer. The initiators would like him to stay on as the town’s first citizen. By yesterday evening, the petition had more than 450 signatures.

The Mayor’s six-year term of office has almost come to an end. Brenninkmeijer would like to stay on. However, there’s little support for him amongst Waalre councillors.

Well supported

But the local community is very supportive. According to the residents behind the petition, Brenninkmeijer has ‘shown himself to be a true Mayor’ for the past five and a half years. He’s approachable and involved too, they write.

The initiators also believe he knows how to build bridges and connect people. Furthermore, ‘he can recognise a good business climate’.

It is not exactly clear why the four councillors in the municipal executive turned their backs on the Mayor. They don’t want to comment on this. According to opposition groups, Brenninkmeijer is neither decisive nor collaborative.

Source: Studio040

Translator: Bob

Editor: Melinda Walraven

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