Amsterdam orders Harbour Club to close for 6 months after latest violent incident
Less than a week after an explosion blew out the front entryway of The Harbour Club, authorities ordered the Amsterdam-Oost bar and restaurant to close, the business announced on Facebook on Tuesday. The city later released a statement confirming the decision was made by the deputy mayor, and that the closure was in effect for six months “because of the serious danger to public order."
Nobody was in the building when the explosion happened at 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday. The blast caused significant damage to the club’s front door and windows. There were no arrests announced, with witnesses having seen two people flee the area on a scooter at about the time the explosive was detonated.
“We were shocked to learn of the decision by the Municipality of Amsterdam to close our restaurant and theater on Cruquiusweg with immediate effect on the basis of public order and safety,” The Harbour Club said in a statement. “We are very surprised that this decision was made seven days after the incident. Last week we were open without any problems.” The company said it was cooperating in the police investigation into the recent explosion.
“It cannot be ruled out that new incidents will occur at the property. The hospitality facility previously had to deal with violent incidents,” the city said. “The incident has seriously affected public order and the sense of security in the vicinity of the property.”
There was an explosion and a fire at The Harbour Club in Amsterdam-Oost in July 2021, and a man on a scooter shot at the club in May 2019. This past March, a 27-year-old man was killed and several others were hurt in a shooting at a parking lot shared by The Harbour Club and Apollo Hotel in Vinkeveen. In 2017, there was an attempt on crime writer Martin Kok’s life as he left a gettogether at Harbour Club Kitchen in Amsterdam Zuid. Kok was killed in Laren later that day. A year earlier, a fire destroyed the Harbour Club location near the Olympic Stadium in the capital.
Soon after the latest incident in Amsterdam-Oost, it emerged that residents of the city still had time to file objections to the club’s new operating permit, which was issued on July 6. The objection period ends on Wednesday, Parool reported. Several people who live near the club told the newspaper they were concerned about their safety.
Illusionist Hans Klok was set to begin an extended series of performances at The Harbour Club starting at the end of September continuing through next June. “I think it's especially sad for all of the 200 employees. It is, in fact, giving in to crime,” Klok told De Telegraaf. “I also understand that the municipality does not want to run the risk that a grenade will be thrown into a full hall, but it is a shame.”
Hospitality sector entrepreneurs in Amsterdam have complained for years that the city harshly punishes businesses targeted by criminals. The businesses say they are put in a bind, because the threat of the city shutting them down gives offenders an advantage when trying to shake down an organization as part of a scheme. The city still frequently closes private and commercial buildings as a threat to public safety when the locations are shot at or an explosive is discovered.
Another explosive was also detonated at cafe In the City on Kleine Gartmanplantsoen just last week. This also caused significant damage but no reported injuries. In 2017, Amsterdam closed In the City for a period after someone threw a hand grenade into the bar. A teenager was arrested for the incident.