Massacre in Alphen, the Netherlands, and political counter-revolution

Flowers after the Alphen massacre

Yesterday, in Alphen aan de Rijn town in the Netherlands, there was a terrible massacre. In a local shopping mall, Tristan van der Vlis killed six people and injured sixteen others with a machine gun. Then, he took his own life.

Mr Van der Vlis was a gun club member and had licenses to own five firearms legally.

Why could such an apparently emotionally unstable dangerous individual have licenses to own firearms? To know the answer to this, we have to look at Dutch gun clubs in historical perspective.

November 1918. In Russia there is revolution. In Germany, the emperor flees to the Netherlands. Other monarchs fall.

Pieter Jelles Troelstra, the Dutch Social Democrat leader, and David Wijnkoop, leader of what would become the Dutch Communist Party, then proclaimed revolution. To counter this, counter-revolutionary paramilitary forces, the “Burgerwacht” were founded. To recruit for these forces, emphasis was on love for the monarchy (even among non socialists, love for the royal family was mostly stronger than for the capitalist economic order). One of the commanders of those Burgerwacht forces was Baron van Ittersum, a relative of royal lady in waiting, Baroness Elise van Ittersum.

Later, in January 1923, the first Dutch fascist party was founded by admirers of Mussolini: the Verbond van Actualisten, VVA. When, in July 1925, this party participated in the Dutch general election, its leading parliamentary candidate was Baron van Ittersum, a contact of other fascists who had been in the Burgerwacht under him.

Other Burgerwacht people would also turn up later in Dutch fascist organizations. Eg, Hugues Alexandre Sinclair de Rochemont, a co-founder of the VVA, had served under Van Ittersum. He would die as a member of Adolf Hitler’s SS occupation forces in the Soviet Union.

After the attempts at Left revolution of 1918 had failed, the Dutch government made it illegal for people with “revolutionary views” to become members of gun clubs. This meant exclusion of social democrats, communists, anarchists, etc. That law is still valid today.

On the other hand, the law on gun clubs said nothing about banning violent counter-revolutionary people. So, supporters of Mussolini, Hitler, and later dictatorships like the Greek colonels or Pinochet in Chile were and are welcome as rifle club members.

In the nineteen eighties and nineties, there was the neo-fascist “Centrumdemocraten” party in the Netherlands. They had their own gun club.

UPDATE: Van der Vlis voted for the PVV, Geert Wilders’ xenophobic party. He was the grandson of Dutch nazi Kornelis van der Vlis, mayor during the German occupation of the Netherlands.

British BNP nazis and firearms: here.

Dutch 1920s establishment rather uncritical about Mussolini: here.

16 thoughts on “Massacre in Alphen, the Netherlands, and political counter-revolution

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  5. Schietschool v.d. Vlis in de fout

    Toegevoegd: vrijdag 7 nov 2014, 12:26
    Update: vrijdag 7 nov 2014, 12:27

    De Nederlandse schietsportassociatie KNSA komt met maatregelen tegen schietverenigingen die zich niet aan de regels houden. Aanleiding is een uitzending van Undercover in Nederland.

    In het tv-programma zijn fouten te zien van drie schietscholen. Daaronder is SV ‘t Groene Hart, waarvan ook de Alphense schutter Tristan van der Vlis lid was. Introduces wordt niet om legitimatie gevraagd, leerlingen worden met wapens alleen gelaten en schutters mogen alcohol drinken.

    De KNSA gaat onderzoek doen bij de drie verenigingen. In het uiterste geval wordt het KNSA-certificaat ingetrokken.


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  8. Amsterdam, July 5: Nine die when soldiers open fire on “Potato Revolt”

    The Potato Revolt, Amsterdam 1917

    Nine people are killed in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, after soldiers open fire on a large crowd demanding food. A further 114 are wounded.

    The trigger for the protests was the arrival in late June of a ship carrying potatoes and food supplies for the army. Although the Netherlands has remained neutral in the war, prices for food have skyrocketed since 1914. Even potatoes, a staple source of nutrition, are hard to come by, which has resulted in mounting protests.

    Women, often carrying their children, began plundering stores on June 28. The movement has spread since the beginning of July, drawing in workers from the capital. The authorities only manage to restore order after seven days, following today’s bloody clampdown.

    The brutal response of the authorities reflects their fear of mounting working-class opposition. The media and ruling elite have been closely following the Russian Revolution and fear that the growing unrest among the people marks the beginning of a similar movement in the Netherlands. Frequent warnings are made of the “red menace.”


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