1975 Dutch train hostage crisis

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1975 Dutch train hostage crisis
Location Flag of the Netherlands.svg Wijster, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°49′N 6°31′E / 52.817°N 6.517°E / 52.817; 6.517Coordinates: 52°49′N 6°31′E / 52.817°N 6.517°E / 52.817; 6.517
Date December 2 – December 14, 1975
Target Train
Attack type
Murder, hostage-taking
Weapons Guns / handguns
Deaths 3
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators Moluccan youth
Motive A free South Moluccan Republic (Republik Maluku Selatan)

On December 2, 1975, seven South Moluccan terrorists seized a train with about 50 passengers on board in open countryside near the village of Wijster, halfway between Hoogeveen and Beilen in the northern part of the Netherlands. The hijacking lasted for 12 days and three hostages were killed.

The attackers came from a village (Bovensmilde) where a few years later a primary school was seized. The attackers hid their weapons disguised as presents for the Sinterklaas holiday on December 5.

At the same time, seven other South-Moluccans took hostages in the Indonesian Consulate in Amsterdam.


The South-Moluccans came to the Netherlands for a temporary stay, promised by the Dutch government that they would get their own independent state, Republik Maluku Selatan (RMS). For about 25 years they lived in temporary camps, often in poor conditions. After these years the younger generation felt betrayed by the Dutch government for not giving them their independent state and they started radical actions to draw attention to their case.


Around 7:10 AM the emergency cord was pulled on the local train Groningen-Zwolle. The traindriver, Hans Braam, was immediately murdered. When on the third day the Dutch government had not given the hijackers what they wanted, 22-year-old national serviceman Leo Bulter was murdered and both bodies were thrown out of the train on the rails. That night 14 hostages managed to escape from the train.

The next day young economist Bert Bierling was brought to the doors and shot dead in full view of the police and the military as well as the press. The dead bodies thrown from the train were only allowed to be taken away a couple of days later.

On 14 December the hijackers surrendered. Among reasons for surrender were reports about retaliations on the Moluccan islands and the sub-zero temperatures in and around the train.


The hijackers were convicted to sentences of 14 years. The most fanatical member of the hijackers, Eli Hahury, committed suicide in prison in 1978.

In 2008 a Dutch-language television film was made about this hostage crisis.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Dutch) [1]

External links[edit]