News & Opinion | August 2, 2018 5:00 am

This Notorious Gangster Was Brought Down By His Own Sister

Will Astrid Holleeder's other brother seek revenge?

willem holleeder
Willem Holleeder (Wikipedia)

Astrid Holleeder drives in a bulletproof car and owns two bulletproof vests. She has lived in a series of furnished safe houses for two years, and mostly stays at home.

There are no photographs of her as an adult online, and when she does move around Amsterdam, where she lives, she does so in secret and in disguise. She has a collection of fake noses and teeth, wigs, and occasionally has posed as a man.

That’s because in 2013, Holleeder became the star witness in a mob trial. She agreed to testify against the most notorious criminal in the Netherlands, a man known as De Neus (the Nose) and whose murderous confessions she had secretly recorded. “Everyone else who has turned on him ended up dead,” Holleeder pointed out to The New Yorker. 

The Nose is standing trial on five counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and “participating in criminal enterprise.” He is being held at the Netherlands’ only maximum-security prison and in 2016, he allegedly asked gang members at the prison to enlist members on the outside to execute Holleeder, who was a successful criminal-defense attorney before she went into hiding.

But what makes this mob saga that much more dramatic is that Holleeder is part of the family. She is The Nose’s younger sister.