About the hester foundation

De stichting Hester zet zich in voor het bestrijden van geweld tegen vrouwen in (vooral) de Mexicaanse stad Ciudad Juárez, waar in 1998 Hester van Nierop werd vermoord. Ze steunt daarbij o.a. het werk van de plaatselijke organisatie Casa Amiga.

About the hester foundation

 Press Release january 2014












Press Release


Voorburg, 24 January 2014

The suspected murderer of Hester van Nierop has been apprehended and today handed over by prison authorities in Mississippi, USA, to prison authorities in Chihuahua, Mexico.  The Mexican police identified the suspect by distinguishing marks. These distinguishing marks are a match with the offender profile. The suspect, Roberto Flores, is accused of the murder of Hester in Ciudad Juárez 15 years ago, on 19 September 1998.  He will be brought to trial in Mexico.


The apprehension of this suspect constitutes a milestone for the Hester Foundation and the Foundation would like to thank the Mexican authorities for its efforts in the pursuit of justice.  Spurred on by this success, the Hester Foundation’s fight for justice will continue unabated into the future.

Purpose of the Hester Foundation

The Hester Foundation was established in 2005 by Arsène van Nierop, Hester’s mother, after the death of Hester.  Its purpose is to help women in Ciudad Juárez who are victims and potential victims of violence.  The Foundation financially supports the women’s center Casa Amiga in Ciudad Juárez and offers psychological, legal, educational and social help to Mexican women as well as giving instruction on the prevention of violence.  In the Netherlands and at European level, the Hester Foundation informs governments and media about the lawlessness and dangers to women in Ciudad Juárez. 

Background information

In September 1998, the young Dutch woman Hester van Nierop (28) was on her way from Mexico to the United States for an internship.  She was found in her hotel room in Ciudad Juárez, raped and murdered.

For years, the rape and murder of hundreds of women in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez is a shocking fact, an almost daily occurrence. Contributory factors are that this town is the biggest point of entry of drugs into the United States, and large numbers of women from all over the country move to Ciudad Juárez to work in the factories there.  They fall easy prey to violence in this town where corruption has the upper hand.  This all reinforced by the macho society of Latin America.  With a weak and deficient legal system, the authorities fall desperately short of their objectives.  Perpetrators are rarely tracked down and brought to justice.  It may be said that the police protect the rich and leave the poor to their lot.  Murders are barely investigated and criminals go unpunished.

For more information, please contact

Arsène van Nierop-Seipgens, Chairwoman Hester Foundation

Elzendreef 665

2272 CX Voorburg


Tel: +31 70 346 1837 / +31 6 549 52 135




About noodkreetthe Hester Foundation (“stichting Hester”)

The Hester Foundation (stichting Hester) was named after the Dutch Hester van Nierop, who was found raped and murdered in a hotel room in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico in 1998, nearly 28 years old.

After a short holiday with her parents and younger sister, Hester was on her way to the United States, where she hoped to find an architecture internship. She never reached her destination. In 2004 Arsène van Nierop, Hester's mother, decided to take action by founding the Foundation for Hester to fight the injustice to the women of Ciudad Juárez. One of its main activities toward this goal is its (financial) support for the work of the local organisation Casa Amiga.

In 2008, Arsène wrote down her story in a book, Noodkreet uit Juárez (S.O.S. from Juárez).

Memories of Hester

by Arsène van Nierop

Arsène In the emptiness after the funeral you throw yourself into memories, they are all that is left.

Hester: impulsive, open, kind, emphatic, sensitive, warm and with a strong feeling of justice. Highly strung, active, a doubter but enterprising, a messy and chaotic person. Am I describing her sufficiently? How could I describe her more accurately?

She was my child, my firstborn and therefore special. Hester was lovely, but what parent doesn’t find their child lovely?

She got on well with us, her parents; we had a very warm and lively bond. Together we would go to the market or sew clothes and sometimes her sister would join us.

Hester was a thinker but she liked to talk too. She was impulsive, creative and involved with the lives of her younger siblings. She knew what they were doing or what bothered them and responded easily to their needs.

She was never afraid to ask us for help: “Mum can you help me to prepare for my exams, or can you check if the story I wrote hangs together?”.

And there we are, at her graduation watching her tell us about The Petrified Gardens she designed for her final project. It was a building in the Easter Docks in Amsterdam. She intended it to be a place of rest, of coming together, for the people who work in the area to enjoy their lunch break. Situated at the quayside, her design has four floors, with spaces for fountains and cascades, seats in secluded spaces where people can sit and talk. The construction of the building was very complicated but it was successful.

Hester starts to present the design but after a few sentences she loses the thread of her story. Everyone silently urges her: come on Hes, you can do it… I am dying a thousand deaths… and then Hester presses her thumbs and index fingers together, collects herself and starts afresh. She tells her story brilliantly, everyone is delighted, and applauds. Her mentor asks one or two difficult questions but then it’s over, she has passed the test. We are so proud of her.

Hester Small but courageous, she has always been like that. She was still at primary school when she came home from the swimming pool and told me that a boy in her class, a real bully, had been provoking her best friend Maria. He had stood beside the pool, tormenting them and she had decided enough was enough and pushed him fully clothed into the water. Tiny Hester, the smallest girl in her class.

Another time she and Maria were walking on the street and they encountered a group of adolescent boys, a few years older than they were. The boys began pestering and teasing them, pulling her hair, both girls got fed up and shouted at them to stop but they were ignored until Hester, furious, slapped the leader’s face.

They were flabbergasted.

Hester was not always so lucky, sometimes the boys hit back! Of course over time she learned from her recklessness.

Naturally she did things which I never knew about. I only had to remember my own childhood. But Hester was growing into a courageous and kind person.

  Other stories:
    BBC News - Artists' tribute to Mexico's missing and murdered women
    Amnesty UK: Violence against Women in Ciudad Juárez