By Wednesday morning, nearly 10,000 people had signed up on Facebook to attend the proposed event on October 31 that would allow people to sit in deck chairs looking out to sea as “Great Britain wakes up as a closed institution” while enjoying “Dutch chips, French wine and German beer”.
Another 60,000 have expressed interest in the event at Wijk aan Zee, a small coastal town northwest of the capital, Amsterdam.
The plan is the brainchild of documentary maker Ron Toekook, who told Dutch broadcaster NOS that the event will be “as if you are saying goodbye to a good friend who you hope will return sometime”.
“If there is enough interest there may be a band that can play It’s Quiet on the Other Side and We’ll Meet Again,” he said on the event’s Facebook page, in reference to a popular Dutch football chant and Vera Lynn’s World War II ballad.
He added that other musical suggestions were welcome.
Toekook is now scouting locations at the beach, talking finances and on Thursday has an appointment with the local mayor to discuss security.
The plan has been met with a mixed reception in the UK, with some negative reactions in newspaper comments sections, according to the Associated Press, but Toekook said: “A lot of Brits understand the tongue-in-cheek humour behind it all and they’re pretty positive.”
More delays to a deal
The UK is due to leave the EU on October 31 after multiple delays. New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly pledged to leave by that date with or without a deal with the bloc.
Both the EU and the UK recently hardened their positions on reopening Brexit negotiations, throwing more doubt on any breakthrough before the deadline.
On Monday, Johnson sent a four-page letter to European Council President Donald Tusk demanding that the Irish border “backstop” provision be axed.
The provision is a safety net within the withdrawal agreement drafted by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May that would prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK and Ireland, which is not.
The Irish border issue is one of the largest obstacles to an agreement over any kind of Brexit deal. All sides had wanted to avoid a hard border over concerns that it would jeopordise the Irish peace process.