Illustration: Samson / DER SPIEGEL

Narco-State Netherlands The Slippery Dutch Slope from Drug Tolerance to Drug Terror

Drug gangs in the Netherlands have long since graduated from hashish to cocaine - and from dealing on the streets to a spree of contract killings. Police, lawyers, journalists: All are at risk of falling victim to the drug violence that has gripped the country.
"In the problem areas off southeastern Amsterdam, young men are queuing up to commit murder on behalf of the gangs."

Cees, a police investigator in Amsterdam

DER SPIEGEL 42/2021
SPIEGEL International
A sea of flowers at the site where journalist Peter R. de Vries was murdered in Amsterdam

A sea of flowers at the site where journalist Peter R. de Vries was murdered in Amsterdam

Foto: ddp
The primary suspect Ridouan Taghi

The primary suspect Ridouan Taghi

Foto: Dutch Police
18.9 billion euros

Minimum annual value of synthetic drug sales in the Netherlands in 2017, according to a report

Cocaine seized by customs officials in Hamburg in August 2019

Cocaine seized by customs officials in Hamburg in August 2019

Foto: Hauptzollamt Hamburg / dpa
Lawyers Onno de Jong and Peter Schouten

Lawyers Onno de Jong and Peter Schouten

Foto: Marcus Simaitis / DER SPIEGEL
A photo of Derk Wiersum, the lawyer who was murdered for representing the chief witness

A photo of Derk Wiersum, the lawyer who was murdered for representing the chief witness

Foto: Jeroen Jumelet / picture alliance / ANP
The casket of the murdered Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries

The casket of the murdered Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries

Foto: Bruno Press / abaca pess / ddp
Criminal investigators at the site of the de Vries murder

Criminal investigators at the site of the de Vries murder

Foto: DPG / action press
189 people

were the victims of contract killings in the Netherlands from 2013 to 2019

Het Parool reporter Paul Vugts

Het Parool reporter Paul Vugts

Foto: Marcus Simaitis / DER SPIEGEL
“Kok knew that he was a target, but he didn’t do anything about it. He said he would probably be killed by bullets before he was killed by cancer.”

Paul Vugts, crime reporter for the daily Het Parool

"In the clash between profit and principle, profit usually wins."

Criminologist Pieter Tops

Coffee shop The Bulldog in Amsterdam

Coffee shop The Bulldog in Amsterdam

Foto: Berlinda van Dam / Hollandse Hoogte / IMAGO
"Of course I look around before walking to my car."

Cees, chief organized crime investigator

“We can still get ahead of the wave."

Daniela Ludwig, the German government’s federal drug commissioner