The Kidnapping

Freddy HeinekenUp until a week before the day of the kidnapping, the plan was to kidnap Heineken and his driver Doderer once they left the home of Heineken in Noordwijk. It turned out that Heineken had changed his routine because every time the kidnappers were in position, he did not show up at the house. The plans had to be changed. The kidnappers decided to the kidnapping in front of the office of Heineken in Amsterdam.

After two weeks observing, the plans and escape route were clear. On the evening of November 9, 1983 the four friends got into position. When Heineken left his office and walked towards his car, he was overpowered by Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout. Ab Doderer came to his aid, but was attacked by Frans Meijer. The three kidnappers dragged the two men in the back of the van. Jan Boellaard had the engine running and drove away with the back doors still open.

Turbulent escape

Heineken Newspaper
A sign of life during the kidnapping of Heineken

Heineken and Doderer were handcuffed in the back of the van. They were forced to put a helmet on with the visor taped so they could not see where they were going. Heineken knew immediately what was going on and offered the men to write a cheque while they were still in the van. The kidnappers didn’t respond to this offer. A taxi driver had seen the struggle in front of the office and followed the van through Amsterdam. They eventually arrived at a bicycle tunnel, where the kidnappers had removed the poles earlier. This is where they switched to two other cars. The van blocked access for other cars which bought them extra time. During the transition Willem Holleeder walked with his gun drawn towards the taxi. The taxi driver backed out and fled. The kidnappers continued their way to the western harbor area where the shed with the cells was located. They didn’t encountered any police on their way. Heineken and Doderer got pajamas on and were imprisoned.

newspaper during heineken kidnappingThe two cells were hidden behind a wall in the shed. The wall had a secret door, which was almost impossible to see. Care took place outside working hours, because the shed was still being used by construction workers. Because of disappointing negotiations the abduction eventually lasted three weeks. During the kidnapping Heineken and Doderer were chained to the wall most of the day. They slept on a mattress on the floor and had a chemical toilet at their disposal. After 4 days, the kidnappers opened the doors of both cells. This is when Heineken found out that not only he, but his driver Ab Doderer was kidnapped as well. They were allowed to talk to each other a few minutes a day, but the two men spent most of the three weeks on their own.

The kidnappers and the police communicated by letter, coded newspaper ads or they recorded Heineken or Doderer on tapes which they used to give instructions by phone. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of 200,000 Dutch, German, French and U.S. banknotes with a total value of 35 million dutch guilders (22 million U.S. dollars).

Tranfer of the kidnapping ransom

ransom-heineken-kidnapping
The barrels that were used to transfer of the ransom

The first attempt to transfer the ransom for the kidnapping failed. The kidnappers demanded that the car with the ransom was a white van with two red crosses and left from a specific location. However, this failed because the van could not leave from that location without the press noticing. The second attempt was on November 28th. The kidnappers demanded that the driver of the car with the ransom was alone and not followed. The driver was led to a chain of instructions. The kidnappers had buried these in plastic cups earlier. On the way the driver was instructed to transfer with the ransom to another car. Eventually, at the top of an overpass, the agent had to stop. Through a radio, he was instructed to slide the moneybags down through a drainage channel. The kidnappers stood below the overpass and loaded the ransom into a Mercedes Hanomag and drove away. Earlier, in the woods near Zeist, they had buried several barrels in the ground. This is where they hid the money.

Heineken and Doderer
Heineken and Doderer released

After an anonymous tip a SWAT team invaded the shed in the harbor area of Amsterdam on November 30th. At first they thought that they were misled but when the police found out that there was more behind the wall, they eventually found the secret door. Heineken and Doderer were finally freed after 3 weeks of captivity. According to the police, three of the five kidnappers were named in the tip. The police never revealed any further information.

Read more… The aftermath