To counter terrorism

Counterterrorism aims to prevent terrorist attacks and to remove the breeding ground for terrorism. In addition, the government prepares itself to limit the consequences of an attack in or against the Netherlands - should this occur - as much as possible

In the Netherlands, all parties that are involved in counterterrorism use the following definition of terrorism:

Terrorism is defined as threatening, making preparations for or perpetrating, for ideological reasons, acts of serious violence directed at people or other acts intended to cause property damage that could spark social disruption, for the purpose of bringing about social change, creating a climate of fear among the general public, or influencing political decision-making

Repression and prevention

Counterterrorism in the Netherlands does not only focus on the violent acts itself, but also on the events leading up to this. A process of radicalisation precedes terrorist acts. The aim is to recognise radicalisation and extremism in groups and individuals as soon as possible, in order to prevent them from committing terrorist violence by using tailor-made interventions. More repressive measures are required for those who have already taken steps towards violence or that are at the verge of doing so. This combination of preventive and repressive measures is known as the 'comprehensive approach' and has been successfully applied in the Netherlands for a long time.

Types of terrorism

For decades, terrorist threats against the West originated at the local level / have been home-grown, stemming for example from national-political groups such as the ETA or the IRA, or from radical interpretations of ideologies such as Marxism (RAF). Today, the biggest threat comes from a global political-religious struggle: jihadism (violent extremism). However, terrorism on other fronts, such as right-wing extremism, is also countered. The starting point is that terrorism needs to be prevented and combatted, regardless of the ideological background.

Cooperation and coordination

Many governmental organisations are involved in counterterrorism. At the national government level, this includes the ministries and, in addition, agencies such as the General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD), Police, Public Prosecution Service, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar), Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) and Customs are active in counterterrorism. Locally, municipalities play an important role. Coordination is also pursued with other governments and international organisations, such as the European Union and the United Nations. The fact that so many players are actively involved in counterterrorism requires coherence, coordination and alignment. The NCTV coordinates counterterrorism efforts in the Netherlands, under the responsibility of the Minister of Security and Justice.