Groningen businesses sweating as customers hide from the heat

Temperature reaches 30° and workers change their habits

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The Nooderplantsoen during the mid-September heat

By Michael Madden and Marijn Thijs

The late summer heat wave is changing everyone’s workday. Restaurant employees can start later, but museum guards and sanitation workers are doing overtime.

With more people appreciating the sun-kissed greenery of the Noorderplantsoen and the city’s cobbled streets, it could be assumed that temperatures of up to 30.5°C would lead to an unexpected boom for recreational businesses.

However, Svende Reeskamp, director of the Noorderplantsoen eatery ‘Zondag’, counters this belief. “Currently, it is too hot during the day, which is causing a lot of people to stay away until the sun goes down.”

Although Reeskamp likes the current weather conditions, and she admits that it helps business improve at night, they are still far from ideal. “It is a seasonal business and we are very weather dependent.” While the heat is not as damaging as the rain, Reeskamp says that when temperatures are too high temperatures there is a negative effect. “Our ideal weather is 20-22 degrees with the sun and a little bit of cloud cover.”

However, in an unusual twist, it is museums that are enjoying the sight of summer in September. “I was surprised, but for us, it has been a very stimulating summer,” said Universiteitsmuseum Groningen curator, Nico de Jonge. “The museum is a cool, climate controlled building and has free admission, so it has been a good option for many visitors to hide from the sun.”

Municipality-led cleaning services are also among those noticing the effects of the pressing heat. “The cleaners start their round in the Noorderplantsoen at 6 AM,” says Richard Oosterloo, team leader for maintenance of the city park. His job is to lead staff towards A-level quality cleanliness in the park, which can often be problematic. Oosterloo says that at 10 AM the cleaning should be finished, but since the park is so busy, people expect the clean-up to be a constant process.

The heat wave which the NOS has reported as having the hottest September 13th on record in the Netherlands is set to end as the weekend approaches, with temperatures cooling off to the low-twenties. Consequently, it seems that the record high in Groningen of 36.8°C, recorded on the 23rd of August 1944, will not be beaten.

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