When Al Bundy once gave a list of great and inspiring men, he named Einstein, Magellan, and Heineken, in that order. So third place, I guess? Not bad, considering that the first man discovered a revolution in physics, the second discovered new lands, whereas the third discovered a new way to kill brain cells. Bog bless you, Heineken! Even though many people here in The Netherlands prefer Belgium brewery over yours, you are a beacon of Dutch culture. Who in their right mind would even think of harming you?
Oh wait, nevermind.
In the Year of Our Lord 1983, this group of men dared to do what no one in his right mind should: kidnap the beer supplier. You have to understand that this was in the eighties, and they probably did not have a 20th century equivalent of The Bro Code or something like that. The ordeal has since uninspiringly been referred to as The Heineken Kidnapping, and it has kept people busy for years and years after.
Also, they made a movie about it. You can watch the trailers without subtitles and still not miss a thing, because every line that is uttered here is 100% cliché (but that doesn’t matter, because Rutger Hauer is in the movie and Rutger Hauer redefined awesomeness).
One autumn evening in 1983, Cor van Hout, Jan Boellaard, Frans Meijer, and Willem Holleeder kindly showed Freddy Heineken the way to their car by pointing at him with their sub-machine guns. Carefully following these directions, Heineken and his driver Ad Doderer spend the next three weeks stuck in improvised prison cells in a warehouse in Amsterdam. Communicating via codified adverts in newspapers, the kidnappers managed to extort 35 million guilders (about sixteen million euros, adjusted for inflation) from the Heineken family. Since it’s pretty difficult to run away when your pile of paper money weighs over 400 kilos, the kidnappers were either arrested or turned themselves in shortly after Freddy Heineken was freed by police officials following an anonymous tip.
Various forms of misfortune followed the gang of beernappers in the years to follow. Cor van Hout was murdered in 2003, evidence so far points to his former best friend Holleeder as having ordered the liquidation. Holleeder himself still walks the streets of Amsterdam today, despite having the balls to extort The Hells Angels and ordering liquidations left and right. Jan Boellaard set a new record for prison breaking, due to him escaping in 1986 and getting arrested again less than half an hour later. Frans Meijer hid away in Paraguy for years where he married, had kids, and converted to Christianity before serving prison time in The Netherlands, so I guess he got off easy.
Of the money that was demanded in the Heineken Kidnapping, a sum of over eight million guilders has never been recovered. Many suspect that Rob Grifhorst, the so-called ‘fifth kidnapper’ took a large part of it and invested it in brothels in The Netherlands, though he has always denied this. Grifhorst died yesterday, taking another piece of the puzzle to the grave.