Hand grenade found outside Amsterdam club
A hand grenade was found outside of nightclub The Box on Mekongweg in Amsterdam-West early on Saturday morning. The area around the club was closed down for some time while the Ministry of Defense's explosive removal department disarmed and disposed of the device.
The grenade was found at around 4:30 a.m. The club was empty at the time, the police said in a statement.
Soon after the explosive was discovered, The Box released a statement saying that the grenade was not aimed at them, but at party organizer Showtime Group, AD reports. The party organizer had rented The Box for Saturday night for party Bodrum meets Marrakech. The event was canceled after the grenade was found.
A short time later, The Box withdrew its statement about Showtime Group, instead saying: "We can state from preliminary conclusions that this threat is probably not addressed to The Box," continuing that the the club claims the target of the threat is still being investigated.
Showtime Group confirmed the cancellation of their event due to a hand grenade, but said little publicly in the hours and days that followed. The police could not confirm The Box's statements to AD, saying that the investigation is still ongoing. It was unclear whether the company was formally registered as a business at the time of the incident, with the newspaper pointing out that the company 'Showtime Group BV' was de-registered from the Chamber of Commerce in February of this year.
NL Times reached out to the City of Amsterdam on Monday for a comment about the situation. Hand grenades have been increasingly used in crimes in the Netherlands, and the city is looking at different strategies it can employ to stop the use of the cheaply-available explosives.
The Box was in the news earlier this year when the venue announced a concert by R. Kelly, shortly after the American artist's arrest in January amid multiple sexual abuse allegations. The planned concert prompted a significant amount of backlash, with an online petition against the show receiving thousands of signatures in a matter of hours. The concert was eventually canceled two weeks after Kelly was arrested in Chicago, with The Box management saying they knew nothing about prior allegations against Kelly which followed the R&B singer for decades.
The premises that houses The Box at Mekongweg 5 was also the scene of a fatal shooting five years ago. At the time the premises was under different management and housed nightclub The Sand. 32-year-old Kelvin Tettey was shot and killed during the Afro Dance Festival at The Sand in September 2014. The municipality of Amsterdam ordered The Sand closed after Tetty's murder.
In August 2015 it was announced that new management had taken over control of the building and would open club The Box. The new management said it planned to make multiple changes in terms of security, first aid and the type of events hosted, a spokesperson said to AT5 at the time. "We will not organize risky events, such as the type of parties where incidents took place in the past. We intend to set up a fully-fledged event location where the association with the past will soon cease", she said to the Amsterdam broadcaster.