Mayor closes Amsterdam club after hand grenade scare

Crime scene tape
Crime scene tapePhoto: Politie

Club ABE on Amstelstraat in Amsterdam was closed down indefinitely by Mayor Eberhard van der Laan after the discovery of a hand grenade in the doorway of the club resulted in the street being closed down for several hours on Thursday morning, the municipality announced on Thursday evening. 

According to the municipality, the presence of hand grenade at the club, located near Rembrandtplein, seriously endangered the local residents and passers-by. Mayor Van der Laan therefore decided to close the club immediately and indefinitely.

Cleaners spotted the hand grenade around 8:40 a.m. on Thursday, according to the municipality. They notified the police, who closed down part of the street and evacuated nearby homes while explosive experts investigated. An Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was able to make the hand grenade harmless and safely remove it around 11:00 a.m. 

On Thursday afternoon the police announced that the hand grenade was placed in club ABE's doorway in what seems to be a targeted action, Het Parool reports. In the interest of the ongoing investigation, the police would say nothing further.

Earlier on Thursday club ABE said on Facebook that the management decided to voluntarily close the club for a week. "With this we want to restore the calm in the neighborhood for the benefit of the staff, the visitors and first and foremost, the inhabitants. With this we give a clear signal that we do not and will not ever tolerate this", the club's management wrote. "Regardless of what is currently written in the national- and local press, club ABE provides a safe entertainment environment that provides thousands of people with a lot of fun each week. One despicable individual can end this fun with one act. We hope that the municipality of Amsterdam wishes to fight with us for a safe entertainment area, without disadvantaging the entrepreneurs and the public."

According to Het Parool, club ABE is well loved among criminals, who hang out there at least on Monday nights. After one such Monday night early last year, shots were fired at the club. No one was injured. Before that, one doorman was assaulted by a club visitor, who threatened to shoot at the club. In October 2015 a doorman reported to the police that a famous criminal threatened to kill him, according to the newspaper.

Mayor Van der Laan also closed the club for some time in March last year, after the shooting.