20 September 2023, by Emily Proctor

A growing number of Dutch homes and businesses are being targeted using explosive devices, according to new statistics from the Dutch police. In 2022, 227 explosions took place at homes and businesses across the country throughout the entire year, but so far in 2023 there have already been 358. 

First nine months of 2023 have already surpassed last year’s figures

In the first nine months of 2023, the number of explosions in Dutch homes and businesses has already surpassed the figures of the previous year, with 131 more explosions already reported than in 2022. The Dutch police are becoming concerned by the statistics, and they predict that by the end of 2023, the total number of explosions could be double that of 2022. 

More than half of the explosions that have happened so far in 2023 have taken place in big Dutch cities, such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam, but there are also cases starting to take place in smaller cities too. Recently, there has been a spate of explosions in the north of the Netherlands: twice targeting a beauty salon in Groningen as well as an explosion at a hairdresser in Winschoten and one at a nail salon in Oude Pekela. There was also a further explosion at a house less than 10 kilometres away, in Winschoten, though police are still trying to determine whether the incidents are connected. 

Some explosions are related to drugs, but others are simple disputes

The police say that while many of the explosions are related to drugs and organised crime, there have also been cases where explosives are used to get revenge in simple disputes. Criminologist Jasper van der Kemp told NOS: “it also happens to people who are just having an argument… it doesn’t even have to be about a heated conflict. It can also involve people who have an argument and happen to have access to fireworks.” 

The criminologist also has a potential reason behind the increase in explosions – copycat behaviour from criminals. “The idea is: this is something that works. It’s a relatively simple way to create fear”, he told NOS. “Then you show: we know where you are, we can hit you. We won’t do that, but we will set off an explosive to show that this is the risk you run.”

Thumb image credit: Robert Hoetink / Shutterstock.com

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