Tall, dark and not particularly pretty, but still extremely attractive, with an electrifying personality and an excellent nose for publicity. By her 29th birthday, the girl who was born as Margaretha Zelle in Leeuwarden in 1876 was a media sensation in Paris. She enchanted high society with her exotic dances that usually involved her slowly revealing her naked body. The newspapers could not stop writing about this mystery woman. For ten years the name Mata Hari stood for the exciting, the exotic and the sensual. But her numerous affairs with men in uniform make her suspect in the eyes of the secret services, and she was executed by firing squad in the woods near Paris during the First World War.
In 2017 it will be exactly 100 years since Mata Hari was executed. To celebrate her life, the Fries Museum will present a major exhibition dedicated to her. Mata Hari’s court records will be released to the public during 2017 too, and the world will finally be able to find out whether or not Margaretha Zelle really was a double agent.