Looking back: events of 2019 that shaped the Netherlands

Another year has come and gone, and it’s been a shocker. From shootings, stabbings, and more protests than you can shake a stick at (which, people did – a lot). 

We saw the death of a royal, the largest traffic jam in Dutch history, and the mercury smash the 40 degrees mark for the first time. Kim Kardashian weighed in the Zwarte Piet debate (we still don’t know why), and we watched anxiously as news of a potential plane hijacking turned out to be a false alarm.

We’re taking a look back at the events that shaped 2019 for the Netherlands – which one impacted you the most?

Utrecht’s shooting leaves three dead, multiple injured

hooting utrecht terror kanaleneiland coverpic

The Netherlands was rocked to its core when reports emerged of a shooting in the central city of Utrecht. International media flocked to the scene as news of the terrorist attack that left three dead and nine wounded, while the motive remained unclear for some time.

Chaos around The Hague as farmers strike and cause biggest traffic jam ever

Farmers and their tractors. Image: @Josephine76/Twitter

New government climate regulations to curb nitrogen emissions had potential for a heavy impact on farmers livelihood – and the farmers were particularly vocal in their frustrations. On multiple occasions, farmers drove tractors to main cities, barricading roads, causing chaos, and creating record-long traffic jams.

Protests in the Netherlands: why are the Dutch protesting so much lately?

Protests in the netherlands
Image: Teresa Gubern

Farmers weren’t the only ones protesting this year: across the Netherlands people were picking up their pickets and campaigning for a cause. We saw climate protests, an outbreak against the Turkish invasion, and of course, the arrival of Sinterklaas sparked up the good old Zwarte Piet debate.

Kim Kardashian speaks out about Zwarte Piet

kim k speaks about Zwarte Piet

Speaking of the Zwarte Piet debate, why was reality star Kim Kardashian speaking out against it? No one really knows, but she released a rather emphatic tweet condemning the Dutch tradition, shifting the world’s attention to the Dutch debate.

Dutch Royal Family in Mourning as Princess Christina Passes Away

Image: Harry Pot / Anefo [CC0]
Sad news for the Dutch royal family when they announced the passing of 72-year-old Princess Christina in August. The Princess had suffered from bone cancer for several years and passed away in the Noordeinde Palace complex in The Hague.

Full alert at Schiphol and mass police deployment, possible plane hijacking at Dutch airport


Emergency services rushed to Schiphol airport in November for what sources believed was a plane hijacking. The Netherlands waited desperately for news of the boarded plane. The result? Anti-climactic (thankfully). Air Europa confirmed that a pilot mistakenly triggered the hijacking alarm and apologised for the incident on Twitter. Whew!

Record broken! July 24 is the HOTTEST DAY EVER in the Netherlands

Image: digital khmer

Who could forget the Dutch summer we sweltered through?! The European heatwave in July resulted in the Netherlands breaking the record for the hottest day ever – twice. The mercury broke the blistering 40-degree mark for the first time on record. The ridiculous temperatures are thought to have contributed to an extra 400 deaths during the month. Let’s hope next year isn’t as extreme!

17 year old rape victim Noa Pothoven ends her life (but it wasn’t state sanctioned euthanasia)

Noa Pothoven, a young girl from the Netherlands, suffered from sexual violence. She then struggled with depression, anorexia and PTSD due to her trauma and wanted to end her life. International and national media went into a spin reporting that she was euthanised – but, that wasn’t the truth.

Three injured after stabbing in The Hague, offender runs

Image: Ivaylo Kirov

Black Friday shoppers in the Hague ran terrified when a man began stabbing people at random. Three minors were sent to the hospital after being wounded in the indiscriminate attack – it was later revealed they had no relationship with the suspect. The attack came just came hours after a stabbing in London in which two people were killed and three injured before police shot dead the suspect.

Father and six children found in a cellar waiting for the end of the world

Image: Politie

In perhaps the most bizarre news of 2019, a family was found hiding in a cellar on a remote farm on the Buitenhuizerweg near Ruinerwold, where they were waiting for the end of time. They were only discovered when the 25-year-old son escaped to a nearby village, leading police to search the farm and discover stairs down to the basement behind a cupboard in the living room. Two suspects have since been arrested.

What event will you remember the most from 2019? Let us know in the comments below!

Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam isn’t great at being Dutch. Originally hailing from Australia, she came to study in the Netherlands without knowing where the country was on a map. She once accidentally ordered the entire ice-cream menu at Smullers. She still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike. But, she remains fascinated by the tiny land of tall people.


  1. Kim Kardashian made the list but the Oranje Leeuwinnen voetbal team in the Women’s World Cup final, Ajax in the Champions League final, the Oranje women’s handball team winning the World Cup and Duncan Laurence winning the Eurovision song contest didn’t?? Maybe the author should take the “How Dutch Are You?” test …

    Ik begrip dit niet.


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