By MIKE CORDER – Associated Press
THE HAGUE (AP) — The teenage heir to the Dutch throne has been forced to give up student life in Amsterdam and live instead in his parents’ palace, the latest evidence of the threat organized crime poses to Dutch society.
Queen Maxima said her eldest daughter Amalia “can’t leave the house” and that it has “colossal consequences for her life”.
A visibly emotional Maxima said at the end of a state visit to Sweden on Thursday that the 18-year-old princess “doesn’t live in Amsterdam and can’t go out”. She said that despite the security concerns, the princess is continuing her studies.
The Queen’s words offered a rare insight into the sense of anxiety felt by the royal household. It also speaks to the fear shared by the Dutch and other European countries that criminal gangs are fueling the lucrative drug trade. The Minister of Justice of the Netherlands last week organized a meeting where the six countries promised to intensify cooperation in the fight against organized crime.
People also read…
The meeting comes after security around Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborn was stepped up following the arrest of four Dutch men in the Netherlands on suspicion of plotting to kidnap him.
Belgium and the Netherlands are home to the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam, two key hubs for the networks that transport huge amounts of cocaine into Europe.
In another example that underscores the seriousness of the gang threat, Dutch prosecutors this week tried to add terrorism charges to the murder of popular crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, who was killed last year. Prosecutors said the suspect posted on social media a gruesome video he recorded of De Vries after he was shot on a street in central Amsterdam to heighten the effect.
Amalia, 18, studies politics, psychology, law and economics at the University of Amsterdam and had to live in a house with other students at the heart of the city’s historic canal network.
Instead, she is still at home in nearby The Hague, her mother said. “She doesn’t have a student life,” Maksima said.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has also reportedly stepped up his personal security amid the threats, called it “terrible news” for Amalia.
“I can’t say anything about threats and security measures. I can assure you that everyone in the government who knows about it and is involved is doing everything possible to ensure her safety,” he told reporters in The Hague.
Dutch daily De Telegraaf reported last month that security measures had been stepped up for Amalia and Rutte amid fears of criminal plots against them. Representatives of the police and special services refused to comment on the report.
Justice Minister Dylan Yeshilges-Zegerius tweeted that “security measures have been taken for the Crown Princess” but said she could not specify “specific threats or specific security measures”.
“It’s terrible that this is necessary. In particular, for the crown princess herself,” she added.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, copied or distributed without permission.