The Dutch government, in co-operation with the Dutch business organisations for nightclubs have initiated a new policy on doormen. With the implementation of a compulsory training-course and an inquiry into a candidate-doorman’s judicial record, the goal of the new policy is to remove and avoid criminal influence in the profession respectively to insure the presence of professional and trustworthy doormen*. To assess if this policy has or will have success, it is important to describe the actual work of the doormen and see in what way they interact with the public. With that picture clear, it will be possible to estimate the requirements that are asked of doormen and compare this with the requirements concluded by the new policy.

The work of the doorman involves three major tasks:

  1. Entrance-control: this involves all tasks regarding entrance-rights, the flow of public and public-selection (a shared task with ambience-control).
  2. Security and safety: damage control and avoiding injuries.
  3. Ambience-control: selection of public and the assessment of the ambience inside the club.
At the ‘door’ (the way doormen refer to the entrance) a doorman has to interact with a wide variety of potential visitors. The better he is equipped with the tools to understand the way people interact, this is, to understand the signals that people give to one another to make their points clear, the better he will perform his duty. The credo is ‘a good doorman is a good actor’. Also the receiving of tip-money by the doorman is of influence on his behaviour toward the public.

The training-course and the investigation into the judicial records do not at this point ensure the presence of professional and trustworthy doormen. It is clear that the policy is stimulated by some occurrences where doormen and violence were involved, which were broadly discussed in the media. Will the policy be effective in profession skill, the training-course should be evaluated, a follow-up in training initiated and a doorman-profile designed. To ensure trustworthiness and remove criminal influences the attraction of the profession to criminals should be removed: the untransparent black money circuit. The owners of the clubs play a major role in achieving those goals.

*According to a letter from the Ministry of Justice, Department of Judicial Affairs and Policy, dated April 26 1998, marked 693312/DBZ/98.

The full text of the thesis in Dutch, you will find here