THE HAGUE – A 58-year-old man and his six children have been living in the basement of a farm in a village in northern Holland for the last nine years waiting for the end of the world, Dutch Police said Tuesday.
Drenthe Police said on Twitter that the family was freed when the eldest son, who is 25 years old, told the owner of a neighboring bar that he had not been outside in nine years.
The young man told Chris Westerbeek that his family lived in very bad conditions and asked the owner for help, adding that he wanted to alert the authorities.
He said he had run away and needed help.
“He had very long hair, dirty beard, very old clothes,” Westerbeek said on the local RTV Drenthe TV channel.
“I was very confused so I decided to call the police to come and investigate what was happening,” he added.
Westerbeek called the police to raise the alarm over the family living in a house in the village of Ruinerwold.
“We met six adults, we are giving them support and attention,” the police said in a statement.
“The building owner did not want to cooperate with our investigation, so he was arrested.
“This is a 58-year-old man.”
“All the scenarios are still open and we cannot give more information,” the statement added.
When police searched the premises, officers found a hidden staircase behind a piece of furniture in the living room connecting with a basement under the house.
It was there they discovered five teenagers and their father, who had suffered a stroke a few years ago and was bedbound, police said.
The children are all over 16 years of age and have not had any contact with the outside world for nine years.
Some of the young people were not aware that more people were living on the planet and said that they had been surviving with the food they grew from an allotment and a goat, RTV said.
Their mother’s whereabouts is unknown.
According to neighbors, the father had arrived nine years ago, boarded up the windows and they assumed he lived alone.