A hand grenade costs as little as €5, Amsterdam police chief says

Police and explosive experts at a sisha lounge on Jan Evertsenstraat where a hand grenade was found tied to the door of a sisha lounge, 1 Feb 2019
Police and explosive experts at a sisha lounge on Jan Evertsenstraat where a hand grenade was found tied to the door of a sisha lounge, 1 Feb 2019Photo: @Politie_Adam / Twitter

The reason that hand grenades are increasingly used as threats in Amsterdam, is because they are cheap and relatively easy to come by, according to Amsterdam Police Chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg. The grenades regularly found in Amsterdam mainly come from Yugoslavia and Russia, and can be bought on the black market or dark web for as little as 5 to 20 euros each, he said to AT5. 

Aalbersberg called hand grenades "very coarse and sneaky" devices. "I can also imagine the anxiety of Amsterdammers: hand grenades belong to a war and not to a city", he said. "But it is not so that they are simply lying around. So far, we see in al these cases that they are placed somewhere in a targeted manner and are probably part of a kind of threat to that location, business or owners behind that business."

In 2014 there were four incidents involving hand grenades in Amsterdam. So far this year there's been 14, according to the broadcaster. Aalbersberg called these incidents a top priority for the police. Despite this, no arrests have been made regarding these incidents this year, and only one case was solved last year. According to the police chief, this is because this is a "sneaky offense".

"A hand grenade is small. You walk late on the street and when no one sees you, you put it down and walk on. The chance that people see that is very small. It is not seen and does not make any noise", he said to the broadcaster. And available camera footage is limited. "They are often not good in the dark. We therefore also depend on people who know or see something. For example, in someone's home, locker or drawer. If you see a hand grenade, call us."

On Thursday morning a hand grenade was found on Bijlmerplein. This was the fourth explosive found in Amsterdam in eight days, and the umpteenth since the start of last year. 

Last week hand grenades were found on Bijlmerplein and in front of a hotel near one of the southern entrances of Vondelpark, and an explosive was found in front of a business on Lemelerbergweg in Zuidoost. Earlier in this month a firebomb was thrown into restaurant Hotel Buiten on Sloterplas.

In August there were five incidents involving grenades in the Amsterdam area. A grenade exploded in apartment building Buekehnorst in Diemen on August 31st. An explosive was found on Voetboogstraat on August 16th. A day earlier a grenade exploded in front of the Marovaan restaurant on Johan Huizingalaan. And the day before that explosives were found on Jan Evertsenstraat and again Johan Huizingalaan.

A grenade exploded in front of a home on Nieuwenhuysenstraat in the Amsterdam district of Slotermeer on July 25th, and one was found at a cocktail bar on Korte Leidsedwarsstraat in January. Last year grenades were found at club In the City on Leidseplein and Club ABE on Amstelstraat.

Since May multiple business owners in the city received an email threatening them with shootings or hand grenades if they do not pay 50 thousand euros in bitcoin.