The law banning burqa or niqabs in public spaces, such as schools, hospitals, public buildings and public transport, came into force in the Netherlands.
It is estimated that 200 to 400 women wear a burqa or niqab in the Netherlands, a country of 17 million people.
The law was passed in June 2018 after nearly 15 years of political debate on the matter.
“From now on clothing that covers the face is banned in educational establishments, institutions and public buildings, hospitals and public transport” and the fine for offenders will be 150 euros, the Dutch Ministry of Interior said in a statement.
“In these areas it is important for public safety and for the proper functioning of public services that everyone can recognize and see each other,” they add.
It is therefore forbidden to wear anything that makes a person unrecognizable, such as full-face helmets, balaclavas or a burqa, they clarify.
According to the Ministry of Interior, it is up to school, hospital and institution workers and drivers to refuse access to a woman wearing a burqa or niqab or to call the police.
Many hospitals in the country have also announced that “they will not deny hospitalization to anyone, no matter what they wear.”