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Fire destroys home of Mata Hari

A fire in the Netherlands has gutted the birthplace of exotic dancer and World War I spy Mata Hari, Dutch media have reported.

One man died in the fire, which broke out on Saturday evening in the city of Leeuwarden, about 140 kilometres north of Amsterdam.

It destroyed several buildings, including the one where Mata Hari was born as Margaretha Geertruida Zelle on August 7, 1876, the daughter of a local shopkeeper, NOS public television said.

in 1903, Zelle travelled to Paris, where she became famous across Europe for her exotic eastern dances and liaisons with various men while moving in high society.

Her stage name became synonymous with the archetypical femme fatale.

Mata Hari was arrested and executed by firing squad in October 1917, aged 41, after being accused of being a German spy during the First World War.

Several movies were made about her life and her character was played by stars including Greta Garbo, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Sylvia Kristel.

Eleven homes and five shops were destroyed in the fire, including the hair salon that now occupies the place of Mata Hari's birth, NOS reported.