Many Black Friday shoppers were from Belgium

The city centre was crowded on Black Friday. Photo credit: Studio040/Alain Heeren

Eindhoven’s city centre was chock-a-block with shoppers two Fridays ago – Black Friday.

So much so that Mayor John Jorristma urged shoppers to stay away on the Saturday. Shops also had to close earlier than usual. Now it turns out, much of the crowds weren’t even locals.

Evidently, 60% of the people who came shopping in Eindhoven were from Belgium. That’s according to behavioural analyst Roelf Pot. The municipality hired him to better streamline the hustle and bustle in the city centre.

Advised Jorritsma

Pot is affiliated with the Event Safety Institute in Rotterdam. He specialises in crowd safety. It was partly on his advice that the mayor ordered the shops to be closed early.

Eindhoven has a great regional appeal as a shopper’s city,” says Pot. “At least 60% of the cars had Belgian license plates. At one point, we said it was getting too crowded. Mayor Jorritsma announced this that evening.

“That was in the Belgian media and elsewhere. He tried to convince listeners and viewers to stay away. And it worked because a day later, there were far fewer Belgians in the city.”


The centre’s streets have since been quieter, which is what Pot had hoped to achieve. He wants to influence people’s behaviour. “Many people like to stick to their routine and find it hard to change.”

Business owners share some of the blame, Pot says. “They also have their own little cocoon.” It’s a matter of reconciling interests and intervening in good time.

Walking routes, stewards, security guards – these have become an integral part of the shopping domain. But more is needed, fears Pot, to channel the ongoing hustle and bustle. “We’re working with parking garage companies across the country.”

‘Will stay away if closed’

“If people know these are closed beforehand, they’ll stay away. Once people park, they stay a long time. By the time it’s code red, it’s already too late.”

“I don’t anticipate any problems this weekend. But I am concerned about the run-up to Christmas. Our task then will be to nudge people into changing their behaviour.”

“They must change their plan. Otherwise, we will have to change things to make the situation manageable for everyone,” Pot concludes.

A PA system has recently been installed in Eindhoven’s CBD to handle crowd control.

Source: OmroepBrabant

Translator: Melinda Walraven

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