Today it is exactly ten years ago that the village of Haren became world news. An innocent invitation via Facebook for a birthday party gets completely out of hand.
Thousands of rioters are responsible for nearly a million in damage that night. Hein Bloemink, of Haren de Krant, looks back: ‘I remember it like it was yesterday. At 6 PM that day I went to a number of places to gauge the mood. Then there was little going on.’ At 20:00 in the evening, Bloemink returned once more and the atmosphere had completely changed: lampposts and street signs were destroyed. “I only knew this from TV.”
The police and the Mobile Unit were deployed to deal with the rioters. Bloemink was in the middle of the chaos at that moment: ‘This was actually the first time I was really scared. I’ve never been hit in my life, and I wasn’t going to get that from the police for the first time.’ Bloemink allowed himself to be carried away by the mob and escaped unscathed. On the night itself, 34 rioters are arrested.
Bloemink did see an unexpected bright spot the day after the riots: ‘September 22nd is actually a monumental day for me. Early in the morning Haren showed himself in a way that we actually didn’t know well at all. Everyone arrived with brooms and wheelbarrows. By 11:00 in the morning everything was cleared up.’ According to Bloemink, Haren proved her resilience that day.