Counterterrorism

The government is doing everything it can to prevent a terrorist attack. For example, it monitors potential terrorists, promptly identifies individuals who may be becoming radicalised and provides at-risk people and buildings with additional security.

Security of potential targets

The government takes security measures to protect people and organisations that could become the target of attacks. This reduces the chance of a terrorist attack.

But if an attack does happen, the government will take steps to minimise the impact.

Recognising radicalisation

Terrorists go through a radicalisation process before turning to violence. Teachers and youth workers try to recognise this and report their suspicions to the police and criminal justice authorities, if necessary. Neighbourhood teams from the police play an important role in this process. In this way, it is possible to stop radicalisation in time and prevent it from leading to terrorism.

Punishing terrorists

The penalties for individuals involved in terrorism are severe. This applies not only to people who carry out attacks but also to those who are planning to do so. For example, planning an attack or completing a terrorist training programme are also criminal offences.

General counterterrorism measures

Since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the government has taken a series of general measures to combat terrorism. For example:

  • Websites that use hate speech or call for violence or discrimination are taken down.
  • The Counterterrorism Alert System warns the government and key sectors (drinking water companies, the energy sector) about terrorist threats.
  • The Royal Netherlands Air Force monitors Dutch airspace around the clock.
  • Special units from the armed forces and the police collaborate in the Special Intervention Service (DSI). This service arrests and detains those suspected of terrorist offences. In the most extreme cases it eliminates them.
  • The police monitor people who may pose a terrorist threat.
  • European countries work closely with each other to combat terrorism. For example, the European Union has a Counter-Terrorism Coordinator who harmonises the counterterrorism activities of the member states.
  • The government has taken measures to combat terrorist financing.
  • The intelligence and security services have increased their capabilities.

Types of terrorism

Jihadism is currently the main source of terrorism. However, there are other forms of terrorism. For example, the government is also alert to terrorist threats posed by left-wing and right-wing extremists and by animal rights activists.