Following today's post on a man who said, "Leave me alone," then disappeared into his bedroom for four years—only to be found dead there this week—Dutch speakers translated more on the tale that has the Netherlands in uproar.
An update on the story we shall henceforth call Something's Rotten in Minnertsga, the tale of a family spat that ended with a 50-year-old man sputtering "Leave me alone!" then stomping off to his bedroom, slamming the door, and remaining there for four years—until his family finally opened the door (so they could renovate their house) and found his corpse lying in bed. Apparently they had not checked on him in all that time.
First, some background: Minnertsga is a village with 1850 citizens in the province of Friesland, a rural northern region known for its distinct language (West Frisian) and for being "like another planet altogether," according to Netherlands-knowledgeable commenter MartyVega.
Within this isolated wasteland of alienation, however, the dead shut-in's family was even more isolated and more alienated, due perhaps to their idiosyncratic religion. Homobot v.30 translates from this article:
Although Minnertsga is a small village, the five people who lived in the house weren't really well known there. A number of them never, or rarely, went outside. The family was isolated. A neighbor said in the daily newspaper Metro that the family's Orthodox-Christian beliefs forbade contact with outsiders. That was true for doctors, as well. "If someone got sick, then that was the will of God. If that's what He wanted, then you would die."
Several commenters note that reports say the shut-in siblings' ages span a 27-year range, suggesting shoddy birth control or perhaps something… weirder… Before he died, Mr. "Leave Me Alone!" collected disability benefits. (We still don't know his name, though I jokingly dubbed him "Wilhelm" in the previous post, which I have since been told is not a Dutch name.) MartyVega summarizes another Dutch article:
One social psychologist conjectures that the family is of limited intellectual ability and that, when he no longer came out of their room, the situation became too complicated for them to handle, and they were likely afraid of having to deal with the outside world.
Now that the bereft shut-in family has been brought, squinting, into the harsh public light their dear brother's death, what will they do? Will they stay in the haunted death-house? Who will get his bedroom? Since Dutch authorities say no crime occurred, it seems the shut-in siblings will remain free to live as they please, ignoring whomever they wish, for as long as they want.
Despite this surfeit of information, many of our initial perplexing questions (How long was he alive in the bedroom? Where did he go to the bathroom? Shouldn't there have been a stench?) have yet to be answered. And perhaps they never will be! Dutch-speakers, please update us if you come across any new information. Between this guy and Joran van der Sloot, Dutch soothsayers are suddenly in high demand.