Harbour Club sues Amsterdam over forced 6-month shut down after explosion
The Harbour Club in Amsterdam is challenging in court the city's decision to close the catering establishment in the wake of an explosion on the premises. The business said in a Wednesday hearing that the mandated six-month closure will "put 276 people out of work" and bankrupt the club, according to Het Parool.
“The municipality lumps this explosion together with very different incidents from years ago, plus some hearsay, unfounded assumptions and gossip,” Richard van Leeuwen, owner of The Harbour Club, told Het Parool. “The lightness and carelessness with which one makes these kinds of decisions is frightening."
The Amsterdam-Oost bar and restaurant was targeted in an early-morning explosive attack on Aug. 10, damaging the front door and windows. The building was unoccupied at the time and no one was injured in the blast.
Van Leeuwen insists that there was no reason for the club to be attacked: no lawsuits, arguments or animosity with the club's co-founder. "[The explosion] happened three hours after closing, so it's pure intimidation," he told Het Parool.
A series of such attacks have plagued Amsterdam in recent weeks, including explosions at homes, catering establishments and ATMs. The municipality of Amsterdam ordered the Harbour Club to close for six months along with Cafe In The City, which was also shaken by an explosion.
In court, the club argued that its surveillance footages shows the perpetrator of the Cafe In The City attack is "almost certainly" the same person who targeted The Harbour Club. This is an attempt to refute a police report's suggestion that the clubs are targeting each other, according to Het Parool. And, although the co-founders got into a spat years ago, Van Leeuwen and the club's lawyers emphasize that ex-founder John de Jong is not after the club and the two had "finally broken up in good harmony."
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the municipality of Amsterdam argues that The Harbour Club operators "do not consider the seriousness of the facts." The force of the explosion was so considerable that, "if someone had walked their dog there, they wouldn't have been there."
The judge will make a decision on the matter within two weeks.