Blood & Honour shows two faces in the Netherlands

Searchlight - August 2006

The international nazi skinhead organization, Blood&Honour (B&H), which has not been well known in the Netherlands, has emerged from the shadows, with two competing organisations bearing the name active on Dutch soil.

On 1 July, one of these, Blood&Honour/Racial Volunteer Force (B&H/RVF), took to the streets with its hardcore fascist Nederlandse Volks Unie (NVU) allies to demonstrate in The Hague in support of Iranian president Ahmedinedjad, a perfect opportunity for the B&H/RVF to display its rabid antisemitism and anti-Americanism. About 60 nazis marched, 20 from them from Germany, chanting "Deutschland Erwache" (Germany awake) and "Nahost, judenfrei" (Middle East, Jew free) without interference through the city.

The arrival of B&H has been a long process lasting two decades. In the 1980s, for example, a right-wing skinhead scene most certainly did exist in The Netherlands but was almost exclusively focused on Dutch activity rather than on international developments. Insofar as the skinheads were politically engaged, they were happy to be part of already existing right-wing organisations. That, however, changed at the beginning of the 1990s when the short-lived success and notoriety of the English nazi band Skrewdriver found resonance in the Netherlands.

Contacts with English organisations were made, however, and this resulted in the founding of a Dutch brand of B&H called Hou Kontakt. An important difference, nevertheless, was that this organisation, unlike its "mother" organisation, tried to avoid being labeled "right-wing". In the beginning, Hou Kontakt was quite successful, producing some magazines and holding some meetings and concerts. A concert staged in Hoek van Holland with the English nazi band No Remorse highlighted was seen as a particularly big success.

Inspired by this, nazi rock icon Ian Stuart Donaldson visited a delegation of Hou Kontakt in Utrecht in August 1992. This was his second visit to the Netherlands. In 1984, as a member of the National Front, he had participated in an action by the fascist Jongeren Front Nederland (JFN) calling for freedom for Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess.

The second visit, though, was Donaldson's last. A year later he was killed in a car accident. And the Dutch branch of B&H became victim of their own success. The more attention it got, the greater the pressure of politics, society and police became. A second concert in Hoek van Holland, for example, was stopped by, among others, Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), in the latter's first major action.

After internal rows, the loss of their meeting places and also because of strong competition from a new youth culture, the Gabbers, Hou Kontakt dissolved in the 1990s. At the end of the decade, however, the province of Limburg saw a development of skinhead scenes, both right wing and "non-political" out of which the obscure Mijnstreekoost-skins, named after the region they live in, emerged.

In 2001, this mob, led by Patrick Notermans, tried to establish a new B&H chapter, but was only successful when, a year later, a group of dissatisfied members of the NVU joined up. Still later the convicted hardcore German nazi Michael Krick, who lives in the Netherlands, also enlisted.

In the years that followed, the development of B&H, where the two branches - the traditionalists, who focus more on music as their central theme and the Combat 18 fans who were more political - worked together was made less clear by the entry of a lot of Gabbers into the B&H scene. These Gabbers, it appears, had become interested in skinhead music and culture and transformed themselves into right-wing skinheads.

Additionally, some older boneheads from the Hou Kontakt generation became active again, facilitating the growth of decentralized groups under the flag of B&H, but whether they were really part of the network remains to be seen.

By 2005 this complicated situation began to clarify itself with the emergence of two distinct organizations: B&H/RVF, composed of the Combat 18 fans and B&H Nederland. In the B&H/RVF, it is the former NVU members who play a key role as well as the long-term nazi group around Eite Homan.

In 2006, the former Gabbers of the Soetermeer Skinhead Front (SSF) who achieved notoriety by organising a nazi fest on 5 May (the day on which the Dutch celebrate the end of the Nazi occupation) last year, also signed up for the B&H/RVF.

This group is most noticeable for its outspoken support of violence and its antisemitic ideology. It supported Saddam Hussein because of his fight against Israel; it supports the German nazi terrorist Kay Diesner, who killed a police officer and shot a left wing bookseller and it promotes the US nazi idea of leaderless resistance. The latest model for this, it appears, is Mohammed Bouyeri, the antisemite and Islamist murderer of the film producer, Theo van Gogh. Despite being politically independent, the B&H/RVF invariably supports the NVU's demonstrations. Internationally, they are very much attentive to nazi structures in neighbouring Germany.

The other B&H branch, the "Traditionalists of B&H Nederland", is more decentralised and spread over more regions. This branch is also formally political independent, but regularly cooperates with the fascist Nationale Alliantie (NA) as well with the Flanders branch of Blood & Honour.

On 4 March, the two rival branches were active on the same day, the B&H/RVF supporting, with 20 people and their own banner, a NVU campaign demonstration for the elections in Nijmegen. Blood&Honour Nederland, for its part, organised a commemoration for Hitler's SS murderers at a graveyard in Ysselstein but had to switch its rally to Lommel in nearby Flanders after opposition from an AFA demonstration. Approximately 100 Dutch nazis turned out together with another hundred from Germany and Belgium.

The Ysselstein retreat drew criticism from B&H/RVF-leaders who criticised the commemoration organisers for openly publicising it. On the other hand, inside the B&H/RVF, criticism was heard about the electoral theme of the NVU demonstration.

The more the two claimants to the B&H brand get involved in mutual conflict, the more that anti-fascists must intensify their efforts to wreck both outfits.

By Jeroen Bosch of Alert! and Antifa-Net in Utrecht