Incident Summary:

05/06/2002: The founder and leader of Netherland’s Pim Fortuyn List political party, Pim Fortuyn, was shot and killed by animal rights activist, Volkert van der Graaf, while he was getting into a limousine in Hilversum, Netherlands. Fortuyn was expected to lead his rightwing party to decent gains in the upcoming Dutch general elections, which were set to happen on May 15, 2002. Fortuyn planned to lift a ban that went into effect in January 2002 that outlawed the farming of animals for fur if his party came to power. Van der Graaf was reportedly a member of an unnamed environmental organization.




Western Europe

region/u.s. state:

North Holland


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Assassination
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Pim Fortuyn List Political Party
Specific Description Pim Fortuyn
Nationality of Target Netherlands
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Handgun
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information Fortuyn was a controversial political figure, but was gaining in popularity before the assassination. When this incident first happened there was thought that it was an Islamic extremist that killed Fortuyn, but this was not the case.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Animal Rights extremists No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
“Netherlands: Pim Fortuyn List’ Official Identifies Fortuyn’s Suspected Killer,” Agence France Presse, May 7, 2002.
“Netherlands, European Politicians Express 'Outrage' at Murder of Pim Fortuyn,” Agence France Presse, May 6, 2002.
“SECTION: WORLD THIS WEEK,” The Economist, May 11, 2002.