Clubs reopen all over Europe: 8 students from 8 different countries share their experiences

While in Belgium the clubs only reopened on Friday, October 1st, the situation is not the same in all European countries. Students all over Europe have different experiences with regulation around it. In certain countries, everything is still closed, or you need Covid Safe Certificates, masks, and social distancing, while in others you can go out and about without any of that. Eight students living in Spain, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Romania, Moldova, Russia, and Denmark gave us an insight into their party activities in the latest months. 

Spain: Ienkse, 20

In Spain, the clubs are open, but under certain conditions. They close at 3.30 am, and you have to enter wearing your mask and sit or stand at a table. There you can take off your mask. While in Belgium, for example, you need a Covid Safe Certificate, it is not mandatory in Spain. Ienske is staying in Huelva, a city in the south of Spain near the Portuguese border: ‘Dancing is allowed at the table, but in reality, people are dancing all over. Now and then the police enter and everyone hurries to a table, but even that doesn’t seem to help with the situation.’ 

Where you are in the country also plays a part in the regulations. In Huelva, the situation was worse, so the clubs reopened later. In Barcelona for example they opened sooner. ‘I do feel safe at the clubs’, says Ienske, ‘I’m fully vaccinated, I already had Covid before and everyone else here seems to be vaccinated as well.’ 

© Ienske Fourneau

Romania: Alesandra, 21

While in most of the European countries the clubs are reopening, in Romania the situation is different. At the beginning of October, all clubs, pubs, and bars were closed. Alesandra lives in Romania. She thinks the measure taken by the government was a must since the rise of new COVID cases was increasing: ‘In Romania, the pandemic is worse than ever, so closing the clubs was a wise decision I think. They were open for the summertime and the whole month of September.’

Alesandra doesn’t feel safe going to a nightclub, as a big part of the population is not fully vaccinated. ‘To be honest, I don’t feel safe going to a nightclub right now. Not everyone is vaccinated and I don’t want to catch the virus.’, says Alesandra. At this moment, the COVID safe pass is mandatory in Romania. 

France: Margaux, 24

The French clubs reopened at the beginning of July. Margaux immediately went back to partying, but she had mixed feelings about it: ‘All of the festivals and clubs were outdoors and the sound systems were a bit different. It was less crowded than in “normal times” and showing the certificate was strange and annoying. But at the end, I was so happy and I felt like something had changed in a positive way. I don’t know exactly what.’

I felt like something has changed in a positive way – Margaux

Switzerland: Sophie, 20

On June 26 the nightlife in Switzerland got back on its feet. Even though clubs and parties are back, Sophie hasn’t visited a club yet. ‘It is nice to go for a drink with people somewhere other than at home in an atmosphere with some music in the background. I liked seeing lots of other people I don’t know and making new friends and stuff’, she says. In Switzerland you need to show a Covid Safe Certificate: ‘I would feel safe going to the clubs now because they ask for the pass because I know that everyone is either vaccinated or has had a test and that makes me feel comfortable.’

The Netherlands: Manon, 20

From the 25th of September, clubs in the Netherlands have reopened. Unlike before the pandemic, they are working on a limited schedule and close at midnight. Manon didn’t have the chance to go out to a nightclub yet, but she attended a festival. `I attended a festival. I experienced the event just like before. It was even more crowded, it felt even more crowded’, says Manon. The COVID safe pass is mandatory in the Netherlands, meaning you have to present a vaccination proof or a test when you enter a club: ‘I feel safe going to a club now, but it’s more comforting if you have to show a COVID safe ticket. I would still go out easily, even if I don’t have to show it.’

I feel safe going to a club now – Manon

Denmark: Denis, 21

Denmark was the first country in Europe to lift all COVID restrictions. From the tenth of September, the masks are not mandatory and people are not obliged to show a COVID test or vaccination proof anymore. Denis is a student in Aarhus and he noticed that in the last half a year everything opened up gradually. First pubs, then bars and nightclubs: ‘Post COVID nightlife has been a blast so far, everyone has been enjoying the reopening to the fullest. All the venues are back to being packed for the whole weekend. Sometimes it’s even hard to get inside due to the tremendous amount of young people who have been waiting for the opportunity to go out.’

As over 75% of Denmark’s citizens are fully vaccinated, Denis feels safe to go out: ‘I feel safe going to a club. It’s nice to see how everything came back to the fun, crazy mess that young people all over Denmark were enjoying before the pandemic.’



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Moldova: Crina, 20

In Moldova, due to the rise of new COVID cases, after a three-month activity, the nightclubs have recently closed. Crina is a student and she managed to go once to a club: ‘Before COVID I didn’t go to nightclubs a lot, only rarely, but when COVID came and everything was closed I felt the need to interact with people and go to different concerts or even night clubs. I can’t say it is a big problem for me that they are closed or that I feel the need to go, but it would be great to have the choice at least sometimes to go with friends to a nightclub.’

Russia: David, 20

David is a Russian student who lives in a city near Moscow: ‘Clubs did reopen maybe six months after we got put on our first big quarantine. It seems like we will be put into another soon, but the bars, restaurants, and clubs show no signs of closing yet.’

They were strict at the start of this whole Covid situation but now no one seems to care – David

Friends of his tell him that they do feel safe, thinking that a sick person wouldn’t go to those events. But in Russia, they have no checks for vaccinations, no masks, and no social distancing. ‘The whole thing shows how little the government cares about enforcing these safety guidelines’, he says, ‘it was strict at the start of this whole Covid situation. You’d go on the bus and they wouldn’t go until everyone had a mask on but now no one seems to care.’

© Manon Botterblom

Text: Laurentia Jora and Sam Depraetere
Images: © Alesandra Nicoară, Denis Grigoreț, Magdalena Plămădeală, Ienske Fourneau, Sophie Roelandts, Margeaux Bandel