Life history and biographies in criminology

Authored by: Frank van Gemert

The Routledge Handbook of Qualitative Criminology

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415659703
eBook ISBN: 9780203074701
Adobe ISBN: 9781135114947

10.4324/9780203074701.ch6

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Abstract

Willem Holleeder and Jan Hoolwerf. Two family names that sound similar belong to two Dutchmen, born in 1958 and 1956, respectively, who grew up simultaneously. Holleeder and Hoolwerf lived in Amsterdam for large parts of their lives. Both were victims of domestic violence, became active criminals with long criminal records, and served extended prison sentences. In 2011, biographies on both were published. However, despite striking similarities, everyone in the Netherlands has heard about Willem Holleeder, whereas Jan Hoolwerf remains largely unknown. The books belong to two different categories. Holleeder’s biography was written by journalist Auke Kok (2011), who never spoke to his protagonist until the book was published. I (a criminologist) wrote Hoolwerf’s biography (van Gemert, 2011), but we met, and I interviewed him many times.

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