Dutch broadcaster employees shaken by hostage situation

Media Park in Hilversum
Media Park in Hilversum. (Photo: Wouter Engler / Wikimedia Commons)

Employees of the Netherlands national public broadcasting organization NPO are properly shaken up by a hostage situation in the building of NPO 3FM in the Hilversum Media Park on Thursday morning, Shula Rijxman of the board of directors said.

"We are therefore particularly relieved that the calamity is behind us and that our colleague is unharmed. For now, our care and compassion goes out to our colleague and those directly involved" Rijxman said, according to RTL Nieuws. 

The hostage situation started around 8:00 a.m. in the parking lot in front of the building that houses 3FM, among others. A man threatened a female NPO employee with a knife and forced her to enter the building with him, the authorities said. According to NOS, once inside he shouted that he wanted to speak with someone from American news channel CNN while holding a knife to the woman's throat. 

The hostage situation came to an end when a SWAT team entered the building, shortly behind a negotiator, and overpowered the man. The victim was physically unharmed. She told the police that she does not know the man who held her captive.

The police revealed that the suspect is a 33-year-old man. His motives for taking the woman hostage are still unclear.

This is not the first hostage situation at the Hilversum Media Park. In January 2015 Tarik Z. tried to hijack the 8:00 p.m. NOS news broadcast. Armed with a gas pistol, Z. demanded screen time to tell the public that NOS manipulated the news and with it the public opinion. The police overpowering him was broadcast live on Dutch television. He was eventually sentenced to 40 months in prison, 24 of which conditionally suspended.