Even though the focus in the Netherlands, is, at this point, mainly on jihadism (violent extremism), there are more types of ideologically driven violence that needs attention. The government also deals with violence and infringements of the law by left- and right-wing extremists, extremists related to the influx of asylum seekers and by animal rights extremists.

It is important to distinguish between activism and extremism. Extremism is the term used for the phenomena whereby persons or groups intentionally cross the boundaries of the law in pursuit of their ideals. Activists may come across as loud in expressing their opinions, however, they are non-violent and stay within the boundaries of the law. Activism turns into extremism when deliberately committing criminal offences, such as threats and destruction.

Extremism related to the influx of asylum seekers

The refugee crisis at present defines the threat from left-wing and right-wing extremism. To give force to their concern, left-wing and right-wing extremist persons and groups become more and more active. Renewed violent outbursts between both sides occasionally take place and it is conceivable that this will increase both in size and severity. These persons and groups could also further radicalise and opt for more non-statutory modus operandi.

Right-wing extremism to anti-Islam

Within right-wing extremist groups and individuals, the 'classic' (Neo-Nazi) right-wing extremism shifts in the direction of anti-Islam. The jihadist threat, in combination with the influx of asylum seekers in Europe, offers organised right-wing extremist groups in the Netherlands the opportunity to bring the anti-Islamic sentiments, in addition to criticising European cooperation, under the attention of a broader audience than their usual supporters.

The increase in the number of threats, acts of intimidation and violent incidents linked to the public debate about asylum seekers, migrants and Islam in the Netherlands is a cause for concern. This threat of violence is also emerging from the non-organised, local anti-asylum views that traditionally do not much relate with ideologically right-wing extremism. Incidents are mainly concentrated on local government level, migrants and advocates of the reception of asylum seekers, such as reception centres and mosques.

Left-wing extremism

Left-wing extremist organisations focus on putting an end to right-wing extremist (anti-Islamic) movements, or campaign against institutions connected to the asylum policy. Actions can go hand in hand with violence against objects. There are, however, no indications suggesting left-wing extremist terrorist attacks. For years now, no illegal activities have been detected within the animal right extremism.

A more extensive view on the extremist developments can be read in the latest Terrorist Threat Assessment Netherlands.


The government is tackling extremism under the Dutch penal code with the help of local government, the public prosecution service and the police force. The responsibility for security measures also lies primarily with the local government. In addition to this local responsibility, the central government has the responsibility to ensure the safety of persons, objects and services that have a special purpose in our democratic society. This responsibility is assigned to the NCTV.