AMSTERDAM — Two-thirds of the 298 passengers on downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 were Dutch, and their countrymen are seeking ways to vent their anger.
Some have found an outlet in the daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Masha. The 29-year-old is married to Dutchman Jorit Faassen, 34, who works for Gazprombank and Stroytransgaz in Moscow.
According to neighbors, the couple lives in a penthouse in Voorschoten, a posh suburb of The Hague. Twitter users have already called for a peaceful demonstration in front of their building. A Dutch artist wrote on Facebook: “If my daughter had been on that plane, I would run Putin’s daughter over."
The father of one of MH17's victims, Hans de Borst from the coastal village of Monster, sent a personal letter to the Russian president. “Many thanks, Mr. Putin, for murdering my only child, Elsemieke," he wrote.
Police protection of the Russian Embassy in The Hague has been strengthened.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the downing of the Boeing 777, which reports say was shot down by a rocket fired by pro-Russian separatist rebels in Ukraine, "the biggest catastrophe since the Second World War."
The Netherlands is a small country and many people knew victims of the crash directly or indirectly. One Dutch magazine wrote that the tragedy “would influence Dutch society for years if not decades to come."
Although calls for vengeance are growing, many other Dutch seek solace first, and Wednesday was declared a national day of mourning. On Monday, Prime Minister Rutte went to the small city of Nieuwegein with King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, where more than 1,000 relatives and friends commemorated their loved ones. The Prime Minister’s entire cabinet was also in attendance; members spoke with relatives and tried to give concrete answers to their questions, many of them centered around quick identification of the bodies.
“All of the Netherlands feels your anger. All of the Netherlands feels your grief. All of the Netherlands is going through this with you," Rutte said in a speech.