Waxwork model of Dutch PM attacked
A homeless man from Rotterdam attacked the waxwork model of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende in Madame Tussauds.16 September 2008
AMSTERDAM -- First Adolf Hitler was beheaded in Berlin, and now Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has been attacked in Amsterdam. Or at least, the waxwork model of him in Madame Tussauds.
The prime minister's attacker is said to be a 46-year-old homeless man from Rotterdam. He was arrested, but the police have given no information as to his motive.
The waxwork of Balkenende has been on show at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam since the end of April this year.
The museum reports that the figure of the prime minister was damaged last week, but it had kept the vandalism attack under wrap as it did not want to encourage copycat incidents. The figure has been sent to the Madame Tussauds studio in London for repairs.
Neither the police nor the museum are prepared to give any details on the exact nature of the damage, as they want to avoid putting ideas into other people's heads. The museum's director Kees Klesman says that every year there are incidents in which figures are damaged, adding that "vandalism shouldn't be rewarded".
According to Klesman, the museum is not planning to introduce any extra security measures to protect its figures because visitors should still be able to touch them.
In July 2008, the figure of Adolf Hitler was damaged at the newly-opened Madame Tussauds in Berlin. The second visitor to the museum pulled off the Nazi dictator's head. Campaigners in Berlin had argued that it was unacceptable to include Hitler in the display of world leaders.
The inclusion of Jan Peter Balkenende is rather less controversial. However, in a poll released today by RTL news, the prime minister scored a meagre five out of 10 for his performance, which could perhaps shed light on the vandal's motive.
[Radio Netherlands / Expatica]