Utrecht attack and arrests confirm threat

There continues to be a realistic risk of a terrorist attack in the Netherlands, i.e. threat level 4 on a scale of 5. The attack in Utrecht and the multiple arrests thereafter provide concrete indications of this threat. Although the number of attacks in the West is limited, the intention remains. After the attack in Utrecht, the threat level in a part of the Netherlands was raised to level 5 for a short period of time for the first time.

Foreign fighters

ISIS supporters, who have ended up in detention or refugee camps in the region after the collapse of the ‘caliphate’, are for the most part still convinced of the ISIS ideology. As a result, there is an existing threat with respect to these foreign fighters. There is a risk that after detention they will join the terrorist organisation again or return to their home country.

Jihadists in the Netherlands

According to estimates, in the Netherlands, there are a few hundred jihadist couples and dozens of families in which at least one parent endorses jihadist ideologies. As a result, their children are included in jihadist networks and may pose a threat at a later age. The recent past has shown that, even in their teenage years, jihadists may hold key positions in the movement.

Right-wing extremism

The right-wing terrorist attack in Christchurch has had a global impact. In the coming years, this attack will continue to inspire various groups in the right-wing extremist scene. The risk of copy-cat behaviour in Europe has also increased. However, in comparison with our neighbouring countries, the threat of violence from the Dutch right-wing extremist scene is less significant.

Activism/extremism

In many places, citizens are campaigning at the local level in an activist and democratic manner against the arrival of wind farms. At the same time, extremist protest actions by a group of activists against the installation of wind turbines in Drenthe and Groningen continue and have even become more intense in recent months. This has led to several arrests.
 
In May, activists from Meat the Victims occupied a pigsty in Boxtel for several hours. A prominent new group within the Dutch environmental activist scene is Extinction Rebellion. This activist group calls for civil disobedience, but explicitly rejects violence. Just as in the case of Meat the Victims, the modus operandi at Extinction Rebellion is focused on generating as much media attention as possible through engaging protest actions.