Public nuisance, public enemy, public servant? Introduction to the special issue on outlaw bikers in Europe

  • Klaus von LampeEmail author


This essay presents an introduction to the special issue on outlaw motorcycle clubs in Europe. Apart from providing an overview of the papers contained in the special issue, it presents a classificatory scheme for the analysis of the links between outlaw biker clubs-also known as outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs)-and crime. Against the backdrop of the history of the outlaw biker subculture in Europe, this paper proposes a five-fold typology of criminal activities that can potentially by ascribed to biker clubs as organizational entities, and it presents three different scenarios for an overlap of criminal structures and the formal structure of an outlaw biker club.


Outlaw motorcycle clubs Outlaw motorcycle gangs OMCG Biker Organized crime Europe 



This paper is based in part on a presentation given at the symposium “Profiling Dutch Outlaw Bikers and Dutch Outlaw Biker Clubs” held at Leiden University in September 2017. I would like to thank Arjan Blokland for inviting me to this event, and for providing valuable feedback on the presentation and on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Police and Security ManagementBerlin School of Economics and LawBerlinGermany

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