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Cult places Scientology Netherlands under guardianship

Het Parool, Netherlands
Dec. 9, 2003
SLADJANA LABOVIC en BART MIDDELBURG • Tuesday December 9, 2003

Partial, on the fly translation from the Dutch.

The international leadership of Scientology, based in Los Angeles and Copenhagen, has placed the Scientology Church Netherlands under guardianship. First victim of the intervention is the highest boss of ‘the church’ in the Netherlands, executive directory Maria Beekmans-Koster. She has been relieved of her position, effective immediately.

Reason is the serious crisis in which the Dutch branch of Scientology, located at the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal in Amsterdam, has – through mismanagement – found itself. The ‘believers’ are leaving in droves, the church suffers big losses, and loses important legal procedures.

New director of Scientology Nederland for now is Italian, Massimo Pozzi. He comes from the sect’s notorious Sea Organization [...] Aside from the Italian, a number of other ‘Sea Orgs,’ as they are referred to internally, has been sent to Amsterdam to deal with the crisis. In Scientology’s jargon, Koster’s replacement is called a bypass.

Insiders say it is ‘highly unusual’ that director Maria Koster has been shoved aside and has been replaced by an bunch of elites from abroad. “It has never happened before that Sea Orgs have been ordered to Amsterdam. That can mean only one thing: that Los Angeles and Copenhagen seriously consider the possibility that they, if things continue like this, can shut down the tent [colloquial for 'business'] in the Netherlands.

Julia Rijnvis, secretary and spokesperson for Scientology Netherlands confirms that Koster has been replaced. However, according to her there is no way this was an intervention from higher-up. Instead, it is ‘a promotion’ of Koster. “After 14 years of faithful service and dedication as leader of the Dutch Scientology, Maria Koster is going to the European Headquarters in Denmark for special education and personal development,” according to Rijnvis, who herself this summer was moved to Amsterdam from the base in Brussels.

“Nonsense,” say insiders. “That is just the pr-story they want to tell. If the director Netherlands wants to study in Copenhagen for a while, that is no problem. But Koster simply is too weak for the current situation. Sea Orgs, on the other hand, are hard as steel; they are trained to handle these kind of crisis.”

That, under leadership of the Sea Orgs, a new broom is sweaping through Scientology Nethelands is immediately noticeable, sources within the church report: even on St. Nicholas-evening [Dec. 5] work had to be done in ‘the Org,’ the headoffice at the Nieuwezijds, and new members had to be recruited on the streets. “In other words, from now on work will be done seven days a week.”

Coinciding with the reorganization at the top Scientology Netherlands also has launched a new offensive in which the church must be profiled as a charitable institute that is eager to help the government solve ‘the escalating drugs problem.’ According to Rijnvis, the sect has therefore asked the Deparment of Health, Welfare and Sports for a a quart-million Euro subsidy. After all, at the moment scientology’s finances are tight.

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