Teun Voeten Books

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DRUGS, Antwerpen in de greep van de Nederlandse syndicaten

By Teun Voeten | 2020

Antwerp has become one of the major ports of entry from cocaine smuggled from Latin America. However, most of the drugs proceed to the Netherlands, that is home to the big drug syndicates that organize these shipments. In his book, Voeten traces the history of drugs in the Netherlands that thanks to an obsessive liberal climate, a capitalist spirit, an arrogant self-righteousness attitude and a blind eye for the emergence of an underground drug industry, has become a narco state light.

As an anthropologist, Voeten talks with the major protagonists in the drugs industry: dealers and consumers. He describes the tactics and modus operandi of middleman who recuperate the cocaine from containers in the port. In the prison of Antwerp, he finds many small dealers who tell in intimate conversations their story. In most cases, not social exclusion but greed, peer pressure and easy money are the driving forces why young people enter the drug trade.

He also talks with many consumers and concludes that drugs are not an innocent pastime, but cause great social, psychological and physical harm, especially amongst a vulnerable underclass. Voeten also discusses the delicate subject why, especially at the lower and midlevel, the Moroccan community is overrepresented and in how far cultural and subcultural elements play are pivotal.

Finally, Voeten analyses the undermining effects the drug trade has on all facets of society. The book starts with an introduction from the Mayor of Antwerp, Bart de Wever, and ends with a long list of policy recommendations.


DRUGS, Antwerpen in de greep van de Nederlandse syndicaten
Originally published 2020 by Van Halewyck/Pelckmans, Antwerp
Dutch language only
Pages: 288
ISBN: 978-94-6383 211-3
Price: 22.50 euro
With an introduction of the mayor of Antwerp, Bart de Wever.

DRUGS, Antwerp gripped by the Dutch syndicates
English translation is in preparation.


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drugs teun voeten

Editorial Reviews and Praise for DRUGS, Antwerpen in de greep van de Nederlandse syndicaten

Voeten’s DRUGS was for months on the top ten of Belgium’s most sold books. It received wide coverage on most mainstream media and was widely praised for its frankness and refreshing insights. Here some interviews with the author. Most are in Dutch.

Impunity rife amongst a class of petty street dealers.

Drugsbusiness has become an industry of arrogant pimps who don’t give a shit.
--De Volkskrant

Changing the cool image of drugs into a substance used by losers.
--City of Amsterdam

teun voeten books

In 1994, Voeten started a photo reportage on the underground homeless in New York. This short project became a long story and finally evolved in a book. In 1996, ‘Tunnelmensen’ was published in Amsterdam. It appeared in an updated and translated version in 2010 in the USA.

Voeten made two photo books: ‘A Ticket To’ (1999) a dark, somber book with black and white photos from the conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. ‘Narco Estado, Drug Violence in Mexico’ is a book where color photos depict the horrible violence.

After nearly being killed by doped up child soldiers in the civil war in Sierra Leone, Voeten wrote ‘How de Body? Hope and Horror in Sierra Leone’ which appeared in the Netherlands (2000) and the USA (2002). A Chines translation is in the making.

His PhD research resulted in the academic publication ‘The Mexican Drug Violence Hybrid Warfare, Predatory Capitalism and the Logic of Cruelty’. and a Dutch journalistic book which will appear in September 2018.

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