Mohammed Bouyeri, 27, said he did not recognise the authority of the court and spoke only to confirm his name and utter a prayer in Arabic. Prosecutors say Mr Bouyeri killed Mr Van Gogh in a ritualistic murder committed in the name of radical Islam. The November 2004 murder shocked the Netherlands and raised ethnic tensions.
Mr Bouyeri, who has dual Dutch-Moroccan nationality, could face a life sentence if he is convicted. A note spiked into Van Gogh's body carried threats against his co-author, Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. An outspoken critic of Islam, she wrote the script for his short film Submission, which offended many Muslims.
Mr Bouyeri is also accused of the attempted murder of bystanders and police, and obstructing the work of Ms Hirsi Ali. She went into hiding after Van Gogh's death.
The Van Gogh website: You can translate it with babelfish.
Wikipedia on van gogh