Photos of the dramatic incident began to circulate via social media and websites within minutes after the tragedy occurred in the early afternoon. One showed the victim on his back, engulfed in flames, while several people attempted to beat back the fire with their coats.

A man set himself on fire in front of a national monument in central Amsterdam on Wednesday, police and witnesses said.

Photos of the dramatic incident began to circulate via social media and websites within minutes after the tragedy occurred in the early afternoon. One showed the victim on his back, engulfed in flames, while several people attempted to beat back the fire with their coats.

Emergency services arrived in Dam Square to fully extinguish the flames with water, and part of the area was cordoned off as the victim underwent treatment before being taken to a hospital.

“A person has set himself on fire on the Dam,” Amsterdam police said in a message via Twitter. “Further information will follow.”

There was no immediate information available on the man’s condition or his identity.

Later images showed him with much of his skin laid bare as his smouldering clothes had been stripped or burned away.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS cited eyewitnesses as saying the man spoke Dutch with a foreign accent, and that he “had no political motive.”

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