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Assassinated Dutch politician to lie in cathedral

The body of murdered Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn is to lie in Rotterdam Cathedral today, ahead of his funeral tomorrow, the Dutch Catholic Church has said.

Church spokesman Peter van Zoest told the BBC: "It is the wish of the family and it is very unusual. There will be a lot of people."

Funerals of even high officials in the Netherlands are often private affairs. It is believed that the last time a body lay in state in the Netherlands was in 1962 when Queen Wilhelmina died.

Mr Van Zoest said it was unclear if the body of the controversial anti-immigration politician would be on view, but he expected the coffin to be closed.

He said Fortuyn - who was openly gay - had been a devout Catholic.

Rotterdam Cathedral - which was Fortuyn's parish church - will also hold his funeral on Friday.

Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok and the leaders of most leading political parties are expected to attend the service, which will be conducted by Bishop Adrian van Luyn.

The funeral will be preceded by a procession through Rotterdam.

After the ceremony, Fortuyn's casket will be taken to the town of Driehuis-Westerveld, on the north-west Dutch coast, where it will be interred briefly in the family vault.

Obituary: Pim Fortuyn (The Guardian)


9 May 2002