Astrid Holleeder’s Crime Family

All her life, Astrid Holleeder knew that her older brother Willem was involved in crime. But she was stunned when, in 1983, Willem and his best friend, Cornelius van Hout, were revealed to be the masterminds behind the audacious kidnapping of the beer magnate Alfred Heineken. It was the beginning of a successful career for Willem, known as Wim. After a stay in prison, he became a celebrity criminal; he had a newspaper column, appeared on talk shows, and took selfies with admirers in Amsterdam. He got rich off of his investments in the sex trade and other businesses, but kept them well hidden. But when van Hout was assassinated and other associates started turning up dead, Astrid suspected that her brother had committed the murders. She decided to wear a wire and gather the evidence to put him away. If that didn't work, Astrid tells staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, she would have to kill Willem herself. After Astrid testified against him, Willem was convicted of multiple murders. Living in hiding, and travelling in disguise, she tells Keefe the story of her complicity and its consequences. 

Keefe’s New Yorker story about Astrid Holleeder appears in his new collection, “Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels, and Crooks.”

This segment originally aired August 3, 2018.


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