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Dutch Release COVID Anger by Smashing Things and Shouting


Twin brothers Steven and Brian Krijger use hammers to scrap a car to express their frustration as the Netherlands undergoes another lockdown in Vijfhuizen, Netherlands January 5, 2022. Picture taken January 5, 2022. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)
Dutch Release COVID Anger by Smashing Things and Shouting
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Some Dutch citizens have found new ways to release their anger about the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – by shouting and smashing things.

Twin brothers Steven and Brian Krijger showed a reporter from Reuters how enjoyable it can be to crush cars at a vehicle wreckage center in the town of Vijfhuizen, near Amsterdam. One used a sledgehammer and the other a crowbar to destroy a Peugeot 106 car.

The exercise is part of a Dutch program called "CarSmash." It aims to give people living under new anti-virus restrictions ways to release their anger and frustrations. The feelings have built up during a pandemic that is now entering its third year.

Dutch bars, restaurants and most stores have been closed since mid-December when the new measures took effect. The restrictions are set to remain in place until at least January 14. The government is seeking to contain record numbers of coronavirus cases.

Twin brothers Steven and Brian Krijger use hammers to scrap a car to express their frustration as the Netherlands undergoes another lockdown in Vijfhuizen, Netherlands January 5, 2022. Picture taken January 5, 2022. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)
Twin brothers Steven and Brian Krijger use hammers to scrap a car to express their frustration as the Netherlands undergoes another lockdown in Vijfhuizen, Netherlands January 5, 2022. Picture taken January 5, 2022. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

"There is nothing to do these days," Brian told Reuters. "We can't work because, we own a bar and we are closed. So, we thought we'd let some of that frustration go and smash a car."

Merlijn Boshuizen runs the CarSmash program. He said people taking part are first asked to spray-paint "what's present in their lives" onto their chosen vehicle.

Then, when they start wrecking a car, they are asked to close their eyes and feel their feet on the ground. Boshuizen says the goal is for the person to “feel the power, every vein in your body, feel what you are doing, and in that way to try to get it out of your life."

Nearby, in the Hague, voice trainer Julie Scott operates "Screech at the Beach." It is a program with similar aims as CarSmash. Scott told Reuters she developed the idea while looking for "something physical and something to release some of the tension" that has been building up in people.

People scream at the sea to express their frustration as the Netherlands undergoes another lockdown, in The Hague, Netherlands January 5, 2022. Picture taken January 5, 2022. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)
People scream at the sea to express their frustration as the Netherlands undergoes another lockdown, in The Hague, Netherlands January 5, 2022. Picture taken January 5, 2022. (REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw)

On a recent day, Julie joined Rozemarijn Kardijk on a windy beach near the shore. Kardijk jumped up and down shouting until she ran out of breath while trying not to laugh.

"You can just - Whaa! Let yourself go," Kardijk said. She is a business secretary hoping to learn to speak with more confidence in her professional life.

"You don't have to think about other things, it's the wideness of the beach and the sea ...” Kardijk said. “Your voice goes over the sea and it doesn't return to you. It's a sense of freedom.”

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Reuters reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English.

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Words in This Story

sledgehammer – n. a large, heavy hammer with a long handle used for breaking rocks or other heavy material

crowbar – n. a heavy iron bar with a bent end that is used to lift heavy objects of force things open

frustration – n. the feeling of being annoyed or upset because things are not happening the way you want them to

barn. an establishment that sells drinks and sometimes food

screech – v. to make an unpleasant, loud, high noise

confidence – n. a feeling of being sure that something will happen or that something is true

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