Story about Willem Holleeder, a man betrayed by his own sisters 

There is one massive bestseller in the Netherlands, a book that sold about 500 000 copies in a country with only 17 million people. The name of the book is ”Judas”. It is written by a Ms. Astrid Holleeder who is actually the sister of the most well known Dutch Gangster, Willem Frederik Holleeder. He was born in 29 May 1958. They were both children of an former employee at the Heineken breweries who lost his job because of alcoholism.  As a teenager, Willem Holleeder, along with his classmate Cor van Hout were part of a gang that worked for landlords in evicting squatters, and may have been involved in several robberies.

His nickname is De Neus (The Nose) because of the size of his nose. He became famous gangster in the Netherlands for decades and the biggest criminal mastermind of Amsterdam according to Dutch publications.

What made him very famous is that in 1983, Holleeder with his best friend Cor van Hout, was sentenced to eleven years imprisonment for his involvement in the kidnapping of Heineken president and Dutch beer millionaire Freddy Heineken, along with his chauffeur for ransom of 35 million gulden, that is approximately €16 million, or US$19.5 million.

Freddy Heineken

After the kidnapping that he did with Cor van Hout, they went to France to hide. They were arrested thanks to Cor van Hout’s  romantic involvement with Willem Holleeder’s sister Sonia. The police tracked Sonia’s phone conversations and managed to catch them.

According to Willem’s sister Astrid, Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout took most of the ransom  money and they gave it to criminal associates in the Netherlands to start investing the money, so when they came out of prison after some years they were already rich and at that point extremely well known and respected in the criminal world of Amsterdam.

Two of the fellows stayed very close after the prison, since they were practically family, because Cor married Willem’s sister Sonia and they had kids together. But after a few years somebody tried to shoot Cor van Hout. Not once but few times, until one day he was killed by two men on the motorcycle in front of a Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam Zuid.

Frankrijk, Beauvais, 13 november 1985
Willem Holleeder (l) en Cor van Hout, ontvoerders van biermagnaat Alfred Heineken, vlak voordat ze uitgeleverd zullen worden aan Nederland.
Foto: Rene Bouwman/Hollandse Hoogte

Willem’s sisters Astrid and Sonia always believed that Cor was not shot by some random gangsters of Amsterdam that blackmailed him for money and that all of this was organized by Willem himself. They believed that he was jealous of Cor and that he wanted more of the ransom share and therefore he eliminated Cor.

1985-12-08 00:00:00 BEAUVAIS – Cor van Hout (l) en Willem Holleeder staan in noord Frankrijk vanuit een hotel de pers te woord. De twee worden ervan verdacht medeplichtig te zijn aan de ontvoering van Fred Heineken.Nu Frankrijk tot hun uitwijzing heeft besloten beraden ze zich met hun advocaten over een land van bestemming.ANP PHOTO

Initially, according to Dutch news, Willem was in a business relationship with real estate businessman Willem Endstra. Astrid stated in her book and later on in her testimony that they were involved in money laundering. Endstra who was called the ”banker of the underworld” was also shot dead near his office in 2004. Practically according to the Dutch publication, Endstra was investing in the real estate the money that he got from criminals. Some of the investments were taking a lot of time to start actually making money, and some of the gangsters that invested didn’t want to wait. Therefore they hit him.

Willem maintain the contact with his sisters and nephews, whose father he might actually killed by ordering the hit, regarding to the sisters testimony. But it took them a long time and many years to actually turn on him. Probably they maintained the contact with Willem because they had some benefit and in order to collect evidence that could be used against him (like recorded conversations, etc.) Astrid worked as a lawyer and she was constantly giving him legal advises, at the same time she was recording all the conversations. Those recorded conversations she used as an evidence against him.

In 2013 Astrid decided, to testify against her brother for the Dutch Justice Department. They called a mega trial in a court room called Bunker in Osdorp (part of Amsterdam), where the key witness against the Willem Holleeder was his own sister Astrid. During the trial she was under police witness protection program, because she believed that he will kill her too. Some Dutch publications said that Astrid almost didn’t testify, because of the lack of police protection. And that Willem Holleeder got a “celebrity” kind of status in the country especially after this event. He had his own column in a newspaper, people were bragging that they added him on Facebook, etc.

Probably most of the people felt emotionally towards him, as I did, I can’t deny. Everybody is free to express his own opinion, so do I. It is so sad to be betrayed by your own family no mater what you did or what you do. For me as a person the family has the greatest value and the members of a family should always stick together no matter what. Stabbing your own brother in the back is the biggest sin, according to my own values.

Ms. Holleeder as a child
Interesting fact to add is that Willem Holleeder became even more popular celebrity in the country, after the book was released. His nickname actually became ‘de knuffelcrimineel’ (something like hugged or peoples favorite criminal). Not long before Astrid’s book came out he appeared on a big talk show on television called College-tour, which of course raked a massive audience for the episode.

This story is very well known in the Netherlands, especially because of the fact that two sisters of a gangster turned against him and they testified in the court room on the trial against him. They even made a movie regarding his story and it is called ”Heineken ontvoering” (Heineken kidnapping) On 27 October 2011, directed by Maarten Treurniet. There is also another movie, premiered in the Netherlands on 8 January 2015 made by Daniel Alfredson  ”Kidnapping Mr. Heineken” and it is based on the book ”The Kidnapping of Alfred Heineken” by journalist Peter DeVries. Where the movie star Anthony Hopkins is playing the role of kidnapped Freddy Heineken. Mr. Holleeder was not so happy about it though. Who would be, imagine if someone made a business and ton of money based on lies about your own personal life, without consulting you at all, how would you feel about it?

The greatest paradox in the whole story is that on the end of her book ”Judas” Astrid Holleeder added: ”Brother I still love you.” I read this in the comment section below of the one YouTube video about Holleder’s case. It is totally ridiculous to me. I never read her books, and I never will for sure. All of this make me sick.

Some publications in the Netherlands say that she had no choice. She had to do this to get rid of him and try to get a normal live, they say that he was threatening her many times to kill her and that he was insane and extremely dangerous person. I don’t know him, I never met the guy, so I can never have an opinion about somebody regarding what other people say or think about him, this is their opinion. He isn’t an angel, of course (nobody is angel anyway), but he doesn’t seem as a monster to me either.

After his release from the prison Mr. Holleeder appeared on television, in the show College Tour in 2012 as I previously mentioned. A Dutch rapper, Lange Frans, recorded a song about him, named Willem is terug (“Willem is back”) in September 2012. Various politicians condemned his appearance, because Holleeder should not become a cult hero, they were kind of afraid of him and his big publicity. From September 2012 until 7 March 2013 Holleeder wrote a weekly column for the Dutch magazine Nieuwe Revu.

Holleeder actually has a lot of admirers here in the Netherlands.He was arrested again in May 2013 and charged for extortion. (It is a criminal act of obtaining money, property, or services from an individual or institution, through coercion. It is sometimes euphemistically referred to as a “protection racket”). On 12 June 2013 Holleeder was released from prison, because of the lack of evidences, but he remains a suspect in the case.

Amsterdam 8 augustus 2012
Ferry de Kok en Willem Holleeder op bankje op de cornelis schuytstraat.
Peter Smulders bv

He ended back in jail in May 2015, thanks to his sister who secretly recorded their conversations even while visiting him in prison. Holleeder himself could not believe it when he heard the statements of his two sisters and his ex-girlfriend Sandra den Hartog against him.

According to Holleeder, his sister Astrid with all her experience as a lawyer has set up an evil plan that is unprecedented. The condemnation of her brother and preferably to life. This even went further because she got the other sister Sonja and his ex girlfriend Den Hartog to declare incriminating Willem as well.

Motive: money maybe? Who knows? One nice part of the movie regarding the Heineken kidnapping (I haven’t watched the whole movie, just a trailer) say: There are two ways that men can be rich in this world, he can have a lot of money, or he can have a lot of friends, but he can not have both. The question is how really rich Mr. Holleeder is? What’s left for him after all, just the money or just the friends, or none of the two?

I hope one day we will find out what is this all about? Why his own sisters turned against him? Is there any truth regarding what they are saying? Why they did this? We are not here to judge anybody, but I still wonder…I hope I will have an opportunity to interview him one day and hear the other side of the story. I am sure that many of you will judge me for glorifying a criminal, but just look around you, look at the news on TV and what is going on around us allover the world, there are so many bigger criminals who make much more money than him on our backs and that we are constantly voting for them on elections. The justice will say the final words about Holleder case after all.

As for the book author Ms. Astrid Holleder who is the key witness for the Justice Department, which hopes to convict to the life sentence her own brother Mr. Holleeder on six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder I don’t have to say much. When she appeared in the court, as she has seven times already since February she was concealed in a protective witness box, seen only by the three judges in the case, and she testified with distorted voice most of the times. She said to the journalists that now she is hiding, as she is afraid for her life. You can’t find any of her photos online, except those when she was a kid. Big drama. She also says that she is living a hell, with absolutely no social contacts, totally isolated. So regarding her statement that she did this in order to have normal life, this doesn’t seam like normal life to me. In my opinion, their charges are stable as a little Bambi on the ice (the scene from the old classic Disney movie).

A 1966 photograph of the Holleeder family. Astrid is on her father’s lap, and Willem is at far right.

Her new book called ”Diary of a Witness”, was published last fall. Her first book “Judas” as I earlier mentioned, immediately hit the Dutch best-seller list in 2016 and stayed there for 70 consecutive weeks, 10 of them at No. 1, according to the CPNB, a Dutch group that tracks book sales in the Netherlands. It has been translated into 11 languages. Steven Spielberg’s entertainment company is creating an American television series based on Ms. Holleeder’s life, and it has now been adapted into a play, which will tour the Netherlands starting in late August. She suddenly became a millionaire thanks to all this publicity around her famous brother.

I found this story very interesting, therefore I decided to share it on my blog. This story is especially emotional for me because I have also been betrayed by my own blood. People can hurt you all the time, we are all used to it, we are hurting each other constantly, but when those who you love the most hurt you and stab you in the back it is the most painful thing in the world. The worst thing regarding betrayal is to know that it’s done by someone you love and you trust the most. Some people will only love you as much as they can use you. Their loyalty ends where the benefits stops. Have you ever felt betrayed in a similar way? 

As for the Mr. Willem Holleeder, if he ever happens to read my article I would like to dedicate one song to him, it is a song by British heavy metal band Judas Priest, originally released on their 1980 album British Steel. It is one of my favorite Judas Priest songs called ” Breaking the law”. And I have to admit that he kind of remind me of Rob Halford himself on the pictures when they were both younger (probably because of the nose size, his spindly body shape, and his gentleman-like style).

All I wrote is based on my own understanding regarding the thousands of publications on the internet about this man and his life.


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