‘Happy little Holland – the image the Germans have of their neighbors has little to do with reality. After the murder of journalist Peter R. de Vries, it became clear how cocaine gangs have strangled civil society. A cause for their rise: the country’s drug policy,” writes of the mirror. And: ‘The history of a country that willingly surrendered to drugs.’
The journalists of the renowned German weekly paint a pitch-black picture of the narco-state of the Netherlands, as a naive country that was the first to tolerate hashish, from the sense of freedom and happiness of the hippie era. The cannabis industry that few saw any harm in paved the way for ruthless drug gangs that also threaten the upper world, with the murder of lawyer Derk Wiersum and journalist Peter R. de Vries as tragic lows. Even Prime Minister Rutte would be threatened by organized crime.
The criticism is in line with that of Roberto Saviano, the Italian journalist and mafia expert who called the Netherlands a free haven for drug trafficking and money laundering, behind a smokescreen of hypocritical righteousness and complacency.
The cover story comes at a time when the German cabinet formation is discussing the legalization of cannabis. The intended coalition partners Greens and FDP are in favor of legalizing and regulating hash consumption. The SPD wants to recognize the use of cannabis as a ‘social reality’. It is unclear how seriously this topic is being talked about. The preliminary agreement between the three parties, published on Friday, does not say anything about it.
But the story of of the mirror, in which the formation is not mentioned, reads like a long moral tale in which Germany is urged not to choose the path of the Netherlands. In 2019, the German police investigated 161 drug cases from the Netherlands, much more than from other countries. ‘The Netherlands is Europe’s drug supermarket’, says Frank Buckenhofer, chief of the customs police. ‘The professionals for the import, cultivation, production and distribution of drugs are in Holland.’ Dutch drugs are just as good and cheap as Frau Antje’s cheese, according to of the mirror.
‘Today the Netherlands, tomorrow Germany? We don’t want to experience that here,” says Thomas Jungbluth of the Düsseldorf police. “I don’t want Dutch situations in Germany,” says Daniella Ludwig, drug expert of the German government. ‘We can still get ahead of the wave’, says Ludwig, provided the fight against organized drug crime is given ‘absolute priority’.
Or is it already too late? The article concludes with the Amsterdam police chief Cees, who for security reasons does not want his last name in the newspaper. He doubts whether Germany can keep out the ‘Dutch situations’: ‘Maybe Germany is lucky at the moment and no types like Taghi. But I estimate it will be just as bad for you.’