July 28, 2021

After the death of journalist Peter R. de Vries, the Netherlands faces the challenge of organized crime

Nine days after being shot by a gunman in the center of Amsterdam, the famous Dutch investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries, 64, died on Thursday July 15. His family, who said “Incredibly proud” of having known such a man, the news broke, causing a second shock in a country where the reporter appeared as “A national hero”, in the words of the mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema.

Many other personalities reacted, including the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who said she was “Very touched”. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte claimed to be “Deeply affected” by this event “Almost inconceivable”. Christophe Deloire, director general of Reporters Without Borders, said that the death of Mr. de Vries confirmed that “Organized crime represents a great threat to journalism in the European Union” (EU).

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In the Netherlands, the most famous investigative journalist targeted by an attack

Two men currently in custody – a 21-year-old rapper and a 35-year-old Polish worker – were quickly arrested after the crime outside the television studio where Peter R. de Vries – who was using the “R.” to distinguish itself from its namesakes – had participated in a famous program, “RTL Boulevard”. He had just mentioned the assassination of a young hairdresser, killed in October 2019, under the eyes of his 14-month-old daughter, installed in the back seat of the car. One of those bloody settling of scores which has been plaguing Dutch news for several years.

Specially interested in “cold cases”, cases closed by the police, de Vries had helped solve several of them, including the disappearance of a young American on the island of Aruba, in the Caribbean, in 2005 , which had earned him an award and international fame. Recently, he had again launched an appeal for donations in order to elucidate the disappearance of another young woman.

Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries, before attending a live TV show in Amsterdam in 2008.

Suspected Mocro Maffia

The reporter was, however, most famous for helping convict Willem Holleeder, one of the country’s most notorious thugs. Sponsor of five assassinations and the kidnapping of the boss Alfred Heineken in the 1980s, the one who was baptized “The Nose” was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2019. He had estimated himself “Betrayed” by de Vries, one of the key witnesses in his trial.

You have 64.07% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.