Infamous Dutch criminal released

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

One of the Netherlands’ most infamous criminals, Willem Holleeder, has been released from prison, the justice ministry has confirmed.

He became notorious after his involvement in the kidnapping for ransom of beer magnate Freddy Heineken in 1983 for which he received an 11-year sentence.

The 53-year-old was most recently sentenced to nine years for the extortion of figures in the real estate world. He has served nearly six years, two-thirds of his term. He has been in Rotterdam’s De Schie prison.

He was officially due for release next Thursday morning, but the authorities are reported to have decided to set him free early to avoid massive publicity. Holleeder refused the chance of even earlier release on parole.

It is thought he was driven out of the prison in a car with blacked-out windows and transferred to an ordinary car at a secret location.

Read about Holleeder and the Heineken kidnapping film

Read more about Willem Holleeder’s criminal career


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide