Planning the kidnapping

Two years before the actual kidnapping of Heineken took place, four friends Cor van Hout, Willem Holleeder, Frans Meijer and Jan Boellaard decided they wanted to become rich quickly. The best they could come up with, was planning the kidnapping a wealthy and famous person.

Kidnappers Willem Holleeder, Cor van Hout, Jan Boellaard, Frans Meijer.

During the preparation it was initially unclear who would be the victim. They had several candidates. Including:

  • Wisse Dekker (CEO of Phillips)
  • Albert Heijn (CEO of AHOLD)
  • Anton Dreesmann (Director Vroom & Dreesmann)
  • Alfred Heineken (Major shareholder of Heineken)

Planning the kidnapping required a lot of thought, time and money. The four friends invested 100,000 Dutch guilders to pay for what they needed. Jan Boellaard possessed a 140 feet ‘Romney shed’ in the western harbor area of Amsterdam.

Planning the kidnapping involved this romney shed
The romney shed of Jan Boellaard in the docklands of Amsterdam

They built two cells behind a wall with a secret door. From the workshop which was located in the shed, you could not see the cells and nobody noticed that the room was now twelve feet shorter than before. During the kidnapping, when Heineken and Doderer were locked in these cells, people walked in and out the workplace without noticing anything unusual.

When the preparations were in full swing, Martin Erkamps was added to the team. He had a limited role in the kidnapping. He helped the four friends planning the kidnapping and to steal cars that were used during the crime.

The money transfer was the most complicated part of the kidnapping. They came up with an idea to use pneumatic tube transport. That way they could stay at a reasonable distance while receiving the money. However, a test showed that this entailed a lot of risks and it was too difficult to achieve.

Another option was to get the money thrown in the water by the negotiators so that the kidnappers could collect it using diving equipment. A problem with this method was the weight of the money. The millions of paper money would be hard to handle underwater.

The weight of the money was a big problem for the kidnappers. They didn’t want to demand bills of 1000 dutch guilders to decrease the chances of getting caught afterwards. The bags with bills of smaller values would weigh at least 800 pounds total.

The kidnappers wanted the police to think they were German. They bought almost all the materials in Germany such as a manufactured typewriter, A4 paper with a German watermark and all that was found in the cells came from Germany.

Read more… The kidnapping