ROTTERDAM-WEST - The action lasted only an hour, but it was a clear signal that the people in Spangen wanted to send out. They were fed up with the drug nuisance and were willing to take measures themselves. Important roads to Rotterdam-West were closed in order to stop drug tourists. The tension was so high, that the organization pulled the plug after an hour.

“More and more people and children themselves took to the streets towards the drug tourists. That became too dangerous ”, action leader Annie Verdoold informed Het Parool.

The action is the result of years of degeneration, drug problems and a lax government, so the activists say. After last year at Rotterdam Central Perron 0 was closed, drug users are spread there over a larger part of the city. Also the relocation of the prostitution zone to the Keileweg, not far away from Spangen, plays along.

In some streets, as in Rotterdam-West, there are one or more drug houses, where users, dealers or sometimes both. It is a magnet for people from France, Belgium and Germany to get their drugs there.

According to Verdoold, the problems are greatest in the neighborhoods where no urban renewal has taken place. “The threat of taking the right into control with baseball bats, is permanently in the air ”, she says to De Volkskrant.


Two hundred to three hundred people took part in the action tonight. The aim was to block the Spangensekade and hand out pamphlets in French, German, Dutch and English. Those pamphlets included texts like "never come back. When you don't want to cooperate, are the consequences for yourself ".

But as planned, it didn't work out that way. Despite all of Verdoold's attempts to calm the group, there was clearly a raised mood. When the first French license plate was visible, a group of young people rushed towards the car. The driver then accelerated, bypassed the people, and entered the Spangen district.

The residents are not so easily led around in the following cars. As soon as the car comes close, becomes the car (with French or German number plates) surrounded.

“The police and members of the residents' association are pushing people back. Some residents keep stones behind their backs, but no one throws. There seems to be no escalation ”

(Volkskrant, 29-07-1995)

In total, seven cars are stopped on the first action night. Then the organization itself pulls the plug. Many people from outside the neighborhood came to the action. Sit there, according to the organization, people with right-wing extremist sympathies. The Rotterdam CP'86 member Martijn Freling also walked around the neighborhood.

The police called it "very sensible" that the action was ended. Agents watched from a distance and only moved when things really went wrong. “Everything went smoothly”, let the coordinator of the police know to Het Parool. “Good agreements had been made with the leaders of the action, that no violence would be used. They have adhered to that. ” Three young people have been arrested, because they had a baseball bat with them.

Was lost, despite the action being closed early, satisfied. “The beauty was, not that, as usual, especially people under thirty were on their feet ”, she informed Het Parool. “Mar also many elderly people. Moreover, not only Dutch people did, but also Turks, Moroccans, Antilleans and Cape Verdeans too. ”

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Operatie Victor

It is not that the police are completely silent about the drugs problem. "Operation Victor" started last week. Drugshandelaren, users and drug tourists are arrested faster. Already last week 81 drug runners arrested, especially from France.

It is not yet clear whether the action of the Spangenaren will be continued.

Hoe ging het verder?

The Spangenaren also took action, in the night hours. Without the watchful eye of the police, license plates of drug tourists were seized, often still with the French, Belgians or Germans in the car.

Those license plates were then dumped on the steps of the town hall on Coolsingel.

Suddenly more is also possible from the side of the municipality. Drug houses are closed. And after surgery Victor (641 aanhoudingen) Operation Alijda followed. The arrows were mainly aimed at pawnbrokers and illegal subletting. Drug dealers are plucked bare. That yields about seven million guilders in the first two years.

Initiator of the action, Annie Lost, was in 1996 voted "Rotterdammer of the year".


De Volkskrant – 29-07-1995 – Spangen does not yet pelt French cars with stones

Het Parool – 29-07-1995 – Residents' action Spangen only lasts an hour

Trouw – 29-07-1995 – Hundred men chase car of French drug tourist

RTV Rijnmond – Canon of Forgotten Stories – The Blockade of Spangen