Travel Security Online
|18 Mar 2013|
|Netherlands: Remain vigilant, observe security precautions as authorities increase nationwide terrorism alert level|
The National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) on 13 March raised the country's risk level for terror attacks from ‘limited' to ‘substantial', citing a mounting radicalisation of Dutch youths as well as an increase in the number of Islamist extremists travelling from the country to Syria. Travellers should exercise caution and remain vigilant in urban public areas due to a latent risk of terrorist attack by Islamist extremists.
Although the increase in the terror threat level does not denote an imminent attack, there remains a credible risk of terrorist attack by Islamist extremists against high-profile targets in the country, including government buildings, public transport, military facilities and places of worship. However, Dutch counter-terrorism capabilities are robust, and several potential plots have been foiled in the past, demonstrating the ability of the authorities to mitigate the risk of major attacks. Security measures are likely to be particularly tight around any high-profile events, such as the festivities planned for the coronation of Prince Willem-Alexander on 30 April in Amsterdam. Travelling personnel are more likely to be affected by disruption caused by heightened security measures, false alarms and occasional hoax bomb threats. Travellers should nevertheless remain vigilant in urban public areas and report any suspicious package or behaviour to the authorities. Further information on terrorism in the Netherlands can be found on our travel security pages.
Several radical Islamist groups are active in the Netherlands, some of which have issued threats to public figures deemed to be enemies of Islam. While there have been no notable terrorist incidents in the recent past, the police in Rotterdam in November 2012 arrested three extremists who were planning to travel to Syria and fight against Syrian government forces. Earlier, in March 2012, the authorities detained a 20-year-old suspected militant in Amsterdam. They claimed to have recovered bomb-making materials and jihadist videos from the suspect's residence.
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