Hand grenade explodes at club under W Hotel Amsterdam

Inside the Mad Fox club under the W Hotel Amsterdam
Inside the Mad Fox club, located under the W Hotel Amsterdam. 8 March 2019photo: Mad Fox / Facebook

22:30, 6 April 2019: This article was updated with a quote from a Mad Fox representative.

An explosion at the Mad Fox club early Friday morning was caused by a live hand grenade. There were no injuries reported in the incident, but it was followed up by another report later in the day of a hand grenade seen in front of the club's front door.

Amsterdam's mayor, Femke Halsema, ordered the club shut down, according to a statement from her office released late on Friday. The Spuistraat club is located underneath the luxury W Hotel in Amsterdam. It will be kept closed for an indefinite period of time to protect the peace.

The early morning explosion took place out in front of Mad Fox, which was closed at the time. Police were later called to the scene to investigate another reported hand grenade, but were unable to find anything suspicious. The statement from the city said there was another report of a hand grenade at the club about a month ago, and again police found nothing.

Citing the repeated disruption to public order, Mayor Halsema ordered the club to be shut. "The explosion and the police reports have caused social unrest and feelings of insecurity among the immediate residents," the statement said.

"Mad Fox is fully cooperating and we are doing all that we can to make sure everything is handled the best way possible," a spokesperson told NL Times by email. "As of now nothing has been found, but to ensure safety for our guests and staff, management made the decision to close its doors as long as needed to fully investigate."

"The safety of our guests is paramount," a hotel spokesperson told newspaper Parool. "The hotel is and will continue to be operational." The club is not part of the W Hotel, but is owned by the hospitality entrepreneur Yossi Eliyahoo, who also runs Momo and The Butcher, the paper said.

The W Hotel chain was taken over by Marriott International as part of the $13.6-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in 2016. The Amsterdam location's two buildings opened in 2015 and 2016.

Hand grenades have been used with increasing frequency as a method of extorting business owners in Amsterdam and across The Netherlands. The city's police chief said their rise in use is because they can be obtained on the black market for as little as five euros.