Notorious Dutch criminal Willem Holleeder sentenced to life in prison

One million pages, over a thousand files, 300 witnesses, 40 investigators and one man. Willem Holleeder, the notorious Dutch criminal, was sentenced to life imprisonment this morning by the judge.

The Sentencing of Willem Holleeder

Ten years since his release from jail “The Nose” is on trial for the murder of five people. The punishment for this crime is life imprisonment but Holleeder’s lawyers argued for an acquittal. The accused denied any involvement whatsoever.

No hard evidence such as DNA or fingerprints was found so the case against him was built predominantly through witness testimonies.

His sisters have testified against him

 A large portion of the trial relies on the testimonies of his own two sisters who have hours of secretly recorded conversation with their brother. Their experience has been turned into a book.

Astrid comments “He is sick. You also have to kill a dog that bites children. The only medicine for Wim is those four walls. ”

Holleender asserts his sisters are lying in order to profit from his situation.

Holleeder’s Claim to fame

Holleeder’s notoriety began when he abducted Freddy Heineken and his driver, Ab Doderer, outside of the Heineken business headquarters in 1983.  The kidnappers received a ransom of 15million euros through coded messages being released in the newspaper. An anonymous tip to the police led to the hostages safe recovery.

The crime was made into a movie with Anthony Hopkins as the protagonist.

Over 20 people were arrested for their purported affiliations with the abduction. Willem Holleeder, became a local celebrity in Holland after being convicted of the crime.

Holleeder at the Heineken trial, with Cor van Hout next to him

Holleeder his fan base

Holleedeer’s cult following hail him as a “cuddle criminal” and protest his innocence. There is so much public interest for the case, that a second courtroom was opened up with a livestream video to the case.

Holleeder: The verdict

The verdict reads “A murder is, without exception, shocking. The wish of society is to take strong action against this. It is harrowing to see the persistence of the grief of the bereaved. You have remained out of reach for a long time. The motive seems to be monetary gain and we condemn you to life imprisonment. ”


Freya Sawbridge
Freya Sawbridge
Freya was born in Edinburgh but raised in New Zealand (cue every person she meets saying “oh I have always wanted to go there but it’s so far away!”). A restless and curious nature has led her to move countries 5 times in the last 3 years in attempt to find a place she can call home. She contacted DutchReview on a whim and arrived in the Netherlands in summer 2019 to start her internship.


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