Aggression, violence, and the death of a Dutch soccer hooligan: A reversal theory explanation



In March 1997, an aggressive and violent confrontation took place between more than 3000 rival soccer hooligans in the small town of Beverwijk in the Netherlands. In the prearranged and well-organized confrontation, a 35 year-old man was beaten and stabbed to death and others were seriously wounded. In this paper, the details of what happened at Beverwijk and the response of the Dutch authorities, including the subsequent arrest and conviction of the main perpetrators, are reviewed. In addition, the psychological approach of reversal theory [Apter MJ. 1992. The Dangerous Edge. New York: The Free Press] is used to answer several unresolved questions about the motivation of the Dutch soccer hooligans involved in the aggressive behavior and violent fighting at Beverwijk. Aggr. Behav. 28:1–10, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.