Home » Dutch municipality banned their favorite hobby, so seniors no longer shout “bingo” but “geranium”

Dutch municipality banned their favorite hobby, so seniors no longer shout “bingo” but “geranium”

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The seniors in Soest in the Netherlands no longer shout “bingo”, but they do shout “geranium” during their favorite activity. That is their solution to the bingo ban in the municipality, Dutch media write.

Earlier this year there was a commotion in Soest, in the Dutch province of Utrecht, when the municipal council decided that the popular bingo afternoons and evenings in café d’Oude Enghe, restaurant Grand Sempoerna and elderly center De Klarinet may no longer be organized.

These evenings are against the law because games of chance are organized in places where alcohol is served, it was said, and so they are no longer allowed to take place. The municipal council of Baarn followed that decision in February, for the same reason and also to the incomprehension of the many seniors who see such a very popular activity disappear.

According to the municipal council, bingo afternoons and evenings are against the law because games of chance are organized in places where alcohol is served.

Geraniums

In Baarn they solved this by banning alcohol during bingo evenings, also to the incomprehension of many attendees. Another solution has now been found in Soest, writes De Gooi- en Eemlander. “I was told shortly before the planned bingo that it was actually not allowed,” says Marjan Van der Steen, organizer of the popular activity in De Klarinet, in that newspaper. “Complete nonsense.”

(Read more below the photo)

Theme image of a bingo evening.

And so Van der Steen and the other volunteers took a different approach. By adjusting the rules a little, they no longer play bingo but “the Geranium Game”. “Because all those elderly people end up sitting behind the geraniums without their regular bingo afternoon,” she explains. “So you could also win geraniums. It was of course still just bingo, but instead of “bingo” everyone shouted “Geranium” very loudly. Yes, the mood was a bit restless.” The activities are important to get the elderly out of their isolation, Van der Steen emphasizes, and so it may not be just one time. “Although it probably won’t be a Geranium game again. We’ll think of something else.”

The mayors of Soest and Baarn say in Dutch media that they understand the misunderstanding and that they will not enforce the ban. “Just don’t advertise too much around those evenings,” they both suggest.

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