The town hall in the Brabant village of Waalre has been destroyed by fire, apparently caused after two cars drove at the building in the early hours of the morning.
The attack happened at around 03.00 hours and the 1920s building was quickly engulfed in flames, according to media reports. No-one was found at the scene.
Fire officers are expected to spend the rest of the day making sure the fire is out. The building, which was on the official monument list, has probably been destroyed, officials said.
In the dark
As yet there is no indication as to why the attack took place. Local newspapers say the cars were driven into opposite sides of the building.
Deputy mayor Ton Bonouvrié told Radio 1 it is ‘a very strange story’. There had been no threats against the council, or anything like it, he said.
‘We are in the dark, but that is all the more reason to be concerned about what can happen in the Netherlands,’ the deputy mayor said.
According to news agency ANP, the home of the town’s mayor Henri de Wijkerslooth is now under police protection. De Wijkerslooth is currently on holiday.
All the council’s paper records – including passport and building permit requests – were destroyed in the blaze, Nos television reports. However, the computer servers and archive were spared which means security camera footage is intact, Nos said.