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Jacobus Adrianus Franken

Following a brief military career, which took him to the Netherlands Indies between 1886 and 1890, and expeditions to Aceh in 1889 and 1890, Jacob Franken joined the Rotterdam police in 1890. He operated under Voormolen from 1893 until the end of 1894. Then, he was appointed commissioner of southern border town Maastricht, stage of a complicated violent conspiracy organized by a Russian agent provocateur only some months before, fuelling local and border crossing anarchist and socialist sympathies. When the Amsterdam police was in need of a new chief commissioner in December 1895, and Voormolen declined the job, the latter nominated his former protégé Franken. He started local reorganizations from the start of his application, largely based on Voormolen’s experiences in Rotterdam. In 1898, he was charged with maintaining public security over the enthronement of Queen Wilhelmina. In preparation, he conducted a study trip to Brussels, Paris, London and Berlin. During his travels, he meticulously investigated the various means to protect monarchs and heads of state, the modes of operation of the respective detective departments and organizational matters as a whole. Especially the insights Franken was able to gain during the July 14th celebrations in Paris and alongside the British Special Branch. He secured the assistance of foreign detectives in Amsterdam and the ongoing dissemination of information from the four cities regarding anarchists setting for the Netherlands during the coronation festivities. Following his study trip and the coronation, Franken was appointed member of the Kist committee, appointed to research the improvement of the Dutch police, alongside Rotterdam chief commissioner Willem Voormolen, The Hague commissioner Schermbeek, and chaired by Amsterdam’s procurer general Herman Kist. The foreign experiences of the commissioners and Kist’s participation in the Rome conference influenced their reporting clearly. He retired as chief commissioner in 1903.

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