Attack in Utrecht and arrests confirm threat
There is a real chance of a terrorist attack in the Netherlands. The threat level therefore remains at 4 (on a scale of 1 to 5). The attack in Utrecht and various arrests are tangible manifestations of this threat. Though the number of attacks in the West is low, the intention to carry out such attacks remains. In the immediate aftermath of the attack in Utrecht, the threat level for part of the Netherlands was briefly raised to 5, for the first time ever.
The majority of ISIS supporters who ended up in prisons or detention camps in the region after the collapse of the ‘caliphate’ are still committed to ISIS ideology. This means that the threat they pose is still relevant. There is a chance that upon their release they will rejoin the organisation or return to their countries of origin.
Jihadists in the Netherlands
There are estimated to be a few hundred jihadist couples in the Netherlands and dozens of families where one parent holds jihadist views. It can be assumed that the children produced by such relationships will probably grow up in a jihadist environment. There is thus a possibility that they could be drawn into jihadist networks and possibly pose a threat at a later age. The recent past has shown that jihadists can already play key roles in the movement during their teenage years.
The right-wing terrorist attack in Christchurch captured the world’s attention.The attack will remain a source of inspiration for various right-wing extremist groups for years to come. It also magnifies the danger of copycat attacks in Europe. In comparison to neighbouring countries, the threat of violence from right-wing extremists is less acute in the Netherlands.
In many places members of the public are voicing their objection to the construction of wind farms in a lawful and democratic manner. At the same time, extremist protests against the construction of wind farms in the provinces of Drenthe and Groningen have continued and have in fact grown more aggressive in recent months. This has led to multiple arrests.
In May activists from Meat the Victims occupied a pig farm in Boxtel for several hours. A notable new addition to the Dutch environmental activist scene is Extinction Rebellion. The group has called for civil disobedience, but it explicitly opposes violence. As with Meat the Victims, the modus operandi used by Extinction Rebellion involves generating as much media coverage as possible by staging attention-grabbing protests.