When a 25-year-old Dutch man showed up at a rural tavern in the Netherlands for a beer, he sparked headlines around the world. The initial version of the story held that a Dutch family, to which the man belonged, was living in a farmhouse basement for 9 years while waiting for end times, Netherlands for a beer, according to BBC. However, the mayor later said the family didn’t live in the basement but did live a “withdrawn existence,” in what has become a puzzling case.
Those living in the farmhouse are all adults. BBC reports that they were a 58 year old man and six other adults who are ages 18 to 25. The farm is located in Drenthe, which is a northern province. NU.NL, a major news site in the Netherlands, wrote that the family “was discovered in a farm in Ruinerwold in the province of Drenthe” and “had been living in the basement of the house for years. In the basement, the (the family)…waited for the ‘end of time.'” The oldest child, who was an adult man, “sounded the alarm in a cafe,” the site reported.
Metro reported that investigators later said they “found six people living in a small space in the house which could be locked, not a cellar,” but it wasn’t clear whether they were there voluntarily. They said they were a family, a father and five children. The 58 year old man rented the home and is named Josef B.; however, he is not the father. He was arrested, but it’s not clear what role he played in all of it, Metro reported. Authorities have acknowledged that they are still piecing together what was going on at the farmhouse and how Josef B. connects with the family, and they say it’s confusing.
Daily Mail reported that the 58 year old man is named Josef Brunner, and he’s accused of possibly holding the family, his former neighbors, hostage. According to Daily Mail, “the family can barely talk and speak in a ‘fantasy language’ after spending nine years in isolation.”
ED reports that Josef was known for his furniture workshop.
The man who escaped has been named as Jan Zon van Dorsten. However, making things more confusing, he has a social media presence and has for months. He has a Facebook page that he started posting on again in June 2019. He hadn’t posted on the page since 2010 before that point. In June 2019, he wrote that he had started a new job as an online store manager and wrote that he was designing brochures. He also posted photos of the outdoors. One post showed him with a computer and read, “You know that work is inspiring and going really well when you still can’t leave it alone at 3am Sunday.” That was from August 18, 2019. He also wrote about climate change and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. In early October, he posted a photo of the Ruinerwold sign in the dark. Metro reports that the latter photo was taken while he walked to the bar.
He also has an Instagram page. Some photos show him outside.
Here’s what you need to know:
Drone Footage Showed the Family’s Farmhouse in the Netherlands, Where They Had a Garden to Survive
Drone footage later emerged of the isolated farmhouse, which is located in the Dutch countryside. RTV Drenthe, a Dutch broadcaster, reported that “a 58-year-old man was arrested in this case, he did not cooperate with the investigation.”
The family’s plight was discovered when the oldest child, now 25, showed up in the pub in Ruinerwold, according to RTV Drenthe. “The man was completely confused, after which the police were called,” the site reported. Once police converged on the farmhouse, they discovered “a staircase to the basement behind a cupboard in the living room,” RTV reported, noting that the father had a medical issue and was confined to a bed.
The family, according to RTV, “had no contact with the outside world and lived fully self-sufficient.” Video shows the family had a large garden. The family was entirely unknown to the system, with the children unregistered and neighbors clueless about the residents, the broadcaster indicated.
The mother may have died years ago, according to RTV, but not much is known about her. The family has not been publicly identified.
Journalist Mark Mensik shared a photo from the scene that captured the isolation of the farmhouse in question and wrote on Twitter, “Apparently a family was hiding here, waiting for the end of time. Located on a canal, a few kilometers outside the village. Plenty of research. We are kept at a distance.”
According to BBC, the son who escaped ordered a beer in the tavern. Bar owner Chris Westerbeek told RTV that the escaping son was pretty unkempt and was seeking a happier life: “He had long hair, a dirty beard, wore old clothes and looked confused. He said he’d never been to school and hadn’t been to the barber for nine years…(he) wanted to end the way they were living.” The windows of the farmhouse were boarded up, and the family also had animals on the property, according to Daily Mail.