Two TV judges and a regular judge in a seven-year neighbor dispute in Nijehaske. “Can’t we try to live together in peace?”

Two mobile judges already made an attempt on television. On Wednesday, the neighbors from Nijehaske stood before the ‘real’ judge.

Is there really no way to interact with each other normally again, judge Titus Hoogslag wants to know in court on Wednesday morning. “From the idea: live and let live.”

Because the judge knows: even if he makes a ruling, the conflict will probably not end. “I also wonder whether we can’t use this case as an opportunity downsizing to make it a bit smaller. Whether we can’t try a little to live there together in a certain peace.”

After all, that hasn’t been the case for quite some time. Eddy and Ingrid Koning and neighbor Sytze Koster have been fighting for about seven years about, among other things, the use of a road, spy cameras and conifers that block the view.

And while the families on the Jousterweg once got along well with each other. In fact, when Eddy and Ingrid took over his parents’ house in 2013, he and neighbor Sytze regularly had a beer together.


Yet the seed of all misery had already grown small roots. Disagreement about the use of a piece of land belonging to Eddy and Ingrid. A path between the detached early twentieth-century homes of the families that is the only way to get to Sytze’s garage from outside.

More importantly, it is also the shortest way to reach parts of its hinterland by tractor. This way they can bring hay, manure and silage to and from the land where their horses are kept.

But somewhere around 2007, resentment arose between Sytze and his now deceased wife Liesbeth and Eddy’s parents, who were still the neighbors. The parents blocked the path, Sytze says. In response, he allegedly parked his car in such a way that his neighbors could not go to church on Sundays. “That’s actually how the argument started,” says Sytze. Eddy: “My parents were completely sick of it.”

A disagreement that flared up again a few years after their death and in 2017 The driving judge ends up. Both families wanted to know what happened now: was there a right of way and could they now cross it with a tractor? No, Eddy and Ingrid claimed, yes, the neighbors said.


They hope that a ruling will put an end to the bickering, Liesbeth says in the TV program that will be broadcast in July 2017.

The families have made an agreement: Liesbeth and Sytze can walk across the path and drive their car to the garage. In exchange, Eddy gets to use a piece of land from them. “A stranglehold contract,” says Liesbeth. “Like: if you want to go into the garage, that’s fine, but then we want a piece of land from you.”

They thought Eddy would only park his caravan there. Instead, he also works on cars on their land. “We will soon receive contaminated land and that place was only intended to put his caravan,” says Liesbeth.

Low IQ

Although both parties entered the TV process as good neighbors, little is left of that afterwards. Sytze and Liesbeth are “underhanded,” Eddy says in the broadcast. “How dare you?”, answers neighbor Liesbeth. “I’m not going to argue with you, because that is simply not possible with someone with such a low IQ.”

It does not come out of the blue that the family believes they are entitled to use the path. They think this arrangement is clearly stated in the deed of sale.

But it turns out not to be that clear. Indeed, the right once existed, concludes Judge John Reid. But during a land consolidation in the 1960s, the right was not re-registered. “So you no longer have an easement, no right of way over Koning’s plot. That is my statement and that is how it is.”


Six years later, the two families face each other again. This time in the TV program Mr. Frank Visser makes a statement . Since The Driving judge according to Eddy and Ingrid it is only misery. “The neighbor has become obsessed with us since he lost the other case,” says Eddy. “They make our lives miserable.”

Eddy is annoyed by cameras that hang on the neighbors’ plot. They say they want to protect their property, among other things.

But there’s more. For example, Eddy and Ingrid are angry about a conifer hedge. Purely to deprive them of the view, they think.

Another thing: Ingrid, a born German, would have been denounced as a Nazi. The neighbor gave the Hitler salute, say Ingrid and Eddy. Sytze denies that. Yes, he did wave. But a Hitler salute? “I would never give the Hitler salute, not even to you.”

“You seem like such a friendly man,” says presenter Viktor Brand when he visits Sytze while he is sweeping his yard. “I am too,” answers Sytze.

“But I’ve heard all these nasty stories about you.”

“He lies about everything.”

Even though his wife is in the hospital with a tumor in her head, he wants to continue the business. “That’s what Liesbeth wants too.”

Jobs on cars

He does not ignore the matter itself. Yes, one of the cameras is there to keep an eye on the neighbor. “How many and what kind of cars come onto the site here. Those are not his own cars,” he says. He believes that working on those cars is not a hobby. “This is just business as usual. And the municipality, everyone allows it.”

Liesbeth in particular is bothered by the noise. She has had a cerebral infarction and needs to rest a lot. “But I don’t get around to that, because my bedroom is at the back and then I get the sound of tinkering and flexing and that bothers me a lot.”

Actually, says Judge Visser, it is crazy that a judge has to be involved again. “Because you keep arguing. After colleague John Reid thought he had solved the conflict once and for all, you have now managed to come up with a whole list of new problems. I’m going to put an end to that today.”

He decides, among other things, that Eddy and Ingrid should limit the chores to four hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. The neighbors have to remove the cameras and remove a row of conifers. “Bullying behavior is not protected by law,” says Visser. “Those conifers must therefore be removed within three months and you may not replace them with anything else.”

If that doesn’t happen, the families have to pay money. “This is my decision. The matter is closed.”


Two TV judges and another attempt at mediation by mayor Fred Veenstra later, judge Titus Hoogslag once again taps his fingers on the table. It is Eddy and Ingrid who have gone to court. Their neighbor, whose wife Liesbeth has now died, has not kept to the agreements, they say.

For example, not all cameras have been removed, there are still conifers, rubbish has not been cleared away properly and a privet hedge has not been properly pruned. They demand 30,000 euros. “I understand how you arrived at that,” says Judge Hoogslag. “But I don’t think that is really conducive to normalizing neighborly relations.”

Can’t some practical agreements just be made? That neighbor Sytze does what Eddy and Ingrid want. And that Eddy and Ingrid meet the neighbor. After all, they still have to clean up a small area of ​​contaminated soil. “With closed markets,” the judge suggests.

Emergency road

It is all difficult, but in the end the neighbors reach an agreement on almost all points. Sytze pays Eddy and Ingrid 9,500 euros. He will also remove a number of conifers and a doorbell camera will have to disappear.

Almost all points, because the dispute that started it all has still not been settled. Although neighbor Sytze no longer requests a right of way, he still wants to cross it with agricultural vehicles. He wants the path to be designated as an “emergency road.”

Between 2010 and 2022, Sytze used another neighbor’s plot of land to cross. But that neighbor didn’t want that anymore. “So now I send in four bales of hay at a time. They are in my driveway.” Maintenance of his locks is certainly not possible. “I can’t criticize it.”

Why doesn’t he request an emergency route from the other neighbor, the judge asks. “We wanted the shortest and fastest route,” says his lawyer. And why can’t he cross his own property? If he demolishes a shed and removes some railroad ties, a road can be made on the other side of the house.

There is a road 2.90 meters wide up to the neighbor’s house. Too narrow, says Sytze. “When you see how wide those tractors are now.”

And so the question remains open as to whether or not he controls the land of his neighbors. In two weeks, Judge Hoogslag will rule on the latter point.

Are you stuck with a ruling by a TV judge?

Suppose you participate in the TV program Mr. Frank Visser makes a statement. And suppose you don’t like that statement at all. Are you still stuck with it?

People who participate in the program agree in writing to settle their dispute by means of a binding opinion, according to one of the statements. “You can always go to court if you have an argument about something,” says private law lecturer and researcher Patrick Koerts of the University of Groningen. “But you can also let someone else, a third party, make the decision.”

In this way, the parties conclude a settlement agreement. “They actually say: we accept in advance what Mr. Frank Visser decides.”


It is a quick legal process before a private judge, says Koerts. And anyone can be the third party to make the decision: a friend or family member, for example.

If you then disagree with the statement, it is difficult to do something about it. “To put it bluntly: it’s a shame, but you have to adhere to it.”

What is different from a court ruling: anyone who has such a ruling can enforce it against the other party with a bailiff. That is not possible with a settlement agreement. “The same applies to all contracts: if a party does not comply with it, you still have to go to court.”

In some cases, the parties are not bound by the TV ruling. This is possible, for example, if the content or realization is unacceptable ‘according to standards of reasonableness and fairness’. “But that is a very high threshold.”