Utrecht commemorates victims of tram attack: ‘Wound on our soul’

Willem, the strong man and great grandfather. Rose, gentle and helpful. Rinke, polite, sweet and friendly until the last moment. Daniel, a sweet boy who was there for everyone. With a personal description, the Utrecht mayor Sharon Dijksma commemorated the four victims of the tram attack exactly four years ago on the 24 October Square.

Hundreds of relatives, aid workers and witnesses were present in the specially constructed small park next to the spot where Gökmen T. opened fire on the occupants of the tram on March 18, 2019 at 10:43 am. At that time, a minute’s silence was held and the Dom in the center of Utrecht struck four times.

Red and white flowers

“It will forever be a wound on the soul of Utrecht,” said the mayor, who spoke in the presence of Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz. Many interested parties from FC Utrecht and Go Ahead Eagles, among others, were also present to lay red and white flowers.

“Four people were victims of a senseless and incomprehensible act of violence,” said Dijksma, who encouraged the relatives in her speech. “We all have to learn to live with this wound on our souls. We do this, among other things, by never forgetting the victims and by remembering them in love.” A commemorative plaque was also unveiled.

On Saturday, in the 18th minute of FC Utrecht’s match against Go Ahead Eagles, applause can be heard, Mayor Dijksma said: „Then we think of these four people. But also to those who were injured, witnessed or came to offer help in all kinds of ways.”


The relatives of Rinke Terpstra announced on Saturday through their lawyer Mr. Axel Beijersbergen of Henegouwen that they hold the transport company Qbuzz and the province of Utrecht jointly responsible for his death. On the morning of the attack, there was a defect in the tram.

The driver could not see what was going on in the back of the tram because the screens were broken. After pulling the emergency brake, the driver kept the doors closed as per protocol. The tram passengers had nowhere to go.

As a result, according to Beijersbergen van Henegouwen, Terpstra’s death is ‘the result of a circumstance that the carrier could have avoided, or the consequences of which the company could have prevented’.

According to the lawyer, the fact that the summons has only been issued four years after the attack is because Qbuzz has long tried to get out, who also pointed to the province as responsible. “That is why we also hold both parties liable,” says Bijersbergen van Henegouwen.

According to the ANP, Qbuzz does not want to respond substantively. According to Qbuzz’ lawyer, the allegations are a ‘one-sided presentation of the facts’. The province of Utrecht also did not want to respond because the case is before the court.

Counsel expects another hearing to be held sometime this year.