Dutch Sentencing and Courthouse Fighting

This week something symbolic (or stereotyping, the jury is still out on that one) for the Netherlands happened. In a tragic case of hit-and-run, where a 13 year old boy lost his life, the always so decent court was turned into something less civil. Since statistics indicate that 149% of the population likes violent videos on the internet, I’ll let you have your violent visual drug first:

Yeah, nothing shocking when it comes to online violence. But still interesting due to a number of reasons.

Soft justice department, even softer judges
Fighting breaks out after the Dutch Justice department demands 240 hours of community service. The family of the deceased kid just loses it then as you can see in the video above (also, the Dutch curse a lot with cancer). In case you’re an American, yes that is hours – not months in prison. Oh, and in case your wondering, judges usually pass lower sentences around than the justice departments demands. Of course, lengthier punishments are only worsening crime rates, but does that apply to this case as well? Does it matter that the defendant is Bulgarian? Also, the sentencing system is also around to make sure that society feels like justice is being done. 240 hours of work doesn’t seem like justice to many.

For all around the world honing in on this topic, how’s sentencing in your country when it involves a fatal hit-and-run? How’s that in your country when compared to Dutch sentencing?

Vigilantism and street justice!
At least Zimmerman’s sentence provoked worldwide disapproval and US riots. In the Netherlands, reactions with regard to this video were sometimes: ‘Now the family will get locked up and this murderer gets off free’ and ‘Look at this white-thrash fighting in court!’. With court sentences this low, people are bound to take matters in their own hands. Or should we all get civilized and let the system do it’s work?

How’s street justice in your country? Vigilantes roaming the roads?

Ah, smoking it up in a car.
In a clusterfuck of cliches, the Bulgarian on trial also wasn’t that good of a guy to begin with, breaking speeding limits continually. And also getting snapshotted while smoking weed in a car. Well hey, the system is finally getting this one right, as foreign people are banned – more or less – from using softdrugs in coffeeshops soon. Boy, that plan sounds waterproof.

Joran smokes
As always, it was the infamous Joran van der Sloot who started that meme. (Source: deondernemer.nl)


The verdict
We here at DutchReview like to think of ourselves as the people’s court. So you tell us what to think! What are experiences in your country with lower sentencing and vigilantism? Should we close off the EU for Bulgarians and Romanians? Are all judges liberal pot smokers? Did you only read this article because you wanted to see a violent YouTube movie? Tell us internet!



The Dutch people were once pretty big in Street Justice, as you can see in this painting by Pieter Frits. It shows the four stages of the murder of Johan de Witt and his brother in the international city of Peace: The Hague. Poor Johan was the Stadhouder of the Netherlands and opposed our current reigning family ‘The House of Orange’.

Dutch sentencing De Witt
“The House of Orange sends their regards”



Abuzer van Leeuwen πŸ‡³πŸ‡±
Abuzer van Leeuwen πŸ‡³πŸ‡±http://www.abuzervanleeuwen.nl
Founded DutchReview. Rotterdammer living in Leiden. Politics, innovation and epic food-reviews are his thing. Interested in doing anything with DutchReview? Contact him at abuzer[at]dutchreview.com


  1. This is an expected outcome when the left parties are too soft and the right wing is too incompetent.

    Well written piece.

  2. What I like about this article: it’s funny and it contains a youtube movie featuring white trash fighting πŸ™‚ (jay!)
    I would like to see a bit more confidence in our legal system though. I understand that public opinion would say that this guy definitely deserves a higher sentence, and public opinion might be right in this case. However, when compared to for example the US legal system, I think ours works much better, even if the sentences in some cases seem to low.
    The fact that the defendant is Bulgarian seems ‘typical’ (and that’s all I’m going to say about this).

    Looking forward to read more articles like this Abu!

  3. Is our legal system a good one? It’s not perfect, it has a lot of flaws, but I believe it’s far superior to that of the americans. However, are the punishments given strict enough? No, not by a long shot. This guy hit a kid with his car, drove off, and he is a known felon in this case. He repeatedly broke the law and endangered others with his behaviour. The sentence he was given is not big enough, not by a long shot. 4 months and community service? I’d say 5 years would be more suitable.

    • I agree. I like the part where first time offenders can get easy sentences, Imagine if your grandma ran someone down, but in this case it’s a felon who broke traffic regulations many times. So come on, lock this guy up for a few years.

  4. I always crinch when I see someone explaining to outsiders that the Dutch frequently use ‘cancer’ as an adverb slash cuss-word. :/ Dutch is a great language, but we’re kinda screwed up in that department.

  5. Citizen justice or vigilantism is a huge problem in my country (India). But a lot of it is not unprecedented. A lot of it has to do with slow justice system. Our justice system’s motto is no matter how long it takes, never an innocent should be punished for the deeds it did not committ (which often happens in countries like USA). Anyways, this has lead to a lot of vigilantism but has also allowed a lot of crime to flourish. Regarding this case, isn’t it murder, so shouln’t it atleast be a life sentence?

    • I think they saw it as unplanned manslaughter, so hence the low demand. For a life sentence one has to kill a lot of people in a gruesome way, or be certifiably crazy. (a combination of both usually does the trick). Otherwise the maximum penalty is 30 years.


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