More explosions overnight; 358 so far this year
There were two more explosions in the Northern Netherlands overnight, one at a home in Windschoten and the other at a business in Oude Pekela. So far this year, there have been 358 explosions targeting homes and businesses in the Netherlands, NOS reported based on police figures. That is significantly more than the 227 explosions in the entire 2022.
At around 11:35 p.m. on Tuesday, an explosive detonated at a business on Feike Clockstraat in Oude Pekela. The company involved is a nail and beauty salon, according to RTV Noord. No one got hurt, the Groningen police said on X, formerly Twitter.
The explosion in Winschoten happened at a home on Wezellaan at around 2:35 a.m. on Wednesday, the police said. No one got hurt, and the police are investigating.
According to AT5, there was also another explosion in Amsterdam overnight. The blast targeted a hair salon on Burgemeester de Vlugtlaan in Nieuw-West at 3:00 a.m. It shattered several windows, but no one got hurt.
More than half of the attacks this year happened in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. There have been 112 explosions in the Rotterdam region, 99 in Amsterdam, and 35 in The Hague.
But these types of attacks are also happening outside the big cities. Wednesday morning’s explosion was the third one in Windschoten since Saturday, for example. Previous explosions targeted a hair salon and a game shop on Langestraat on Tuesday and Saturday, respectively.
The police believe that many of these explosions are drug-crime related. Criminal organizations offer often young people a thousand euros to set off a firework at someone’s house or business as a threat. The young suspects often don’t realize that they’re committing a serious crime, Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeke previously said. They set off fireworks over New Year’s, after all; why is this different, they think. According to Amsterdam city councilor Fathiya Abdi, the recruitment often happens on Telegram, and she wants the government to ban the app.
However, according to criminologist Jasper van der Kemp, not all the explosions are related to the criminal underworld. “It also happens to people who are just having an argument,” he told NOS. “It doesn’t even have to be a heated conflict. It can also involve people who have an argument and happen to have access to those fireworks.”
Copycat behavior plays a role, Van Kemp said. “The idea is: this is something that works. It’s a relatively simple way to create fear.” People set off an explosive to show someone they have a conflict with: “We know where you are, we can hit you. We don’t, but we set off an explosive to show that you run the risk,” he explained.