Critical Infrastructure (protection)

Without for instance electricity, drinking water or financial transactions, society stops functioning properly. In the Netherlands businesses, governments, emergency services and security services work closely together, in order to continually improve and bolster the protection of these critical infrastructures and services.

(An animation.)

VOICE-OVER: The critical infrastructure is essential for the functioning of our society. We depend on it more and more. Because an insignificant incident can have significant repercussions and disrupt the country. What can we do to prevent this? Or at least minimise the impact. Let us start with the cause. A group of extremists hack into the electricity network control system. They deactivate several switching stations, which knocks out the power supply. Triggering a power outage that spreads to large parts of the country, with disastrous consequences. Payment traffic almost breaks down completely, so that companies can't operate and lose a great deal of business. Most of the mobile network is down. In higher buildings the water supply is disrupted. Transportation is disrupted, leaving many travellers stranded. Hospitals can temporarily fall back on emergency generators. But other health facilities don't have them. Chemical plants gradually shut down to prevent environmental disasters. Within six hours, power returns to the first critical processes, but it takes two days for the entire country to be back up and running. The economy has suffered enormous consequences. People have died, and hundreds are seriously injured. This situation is all too real. And such a disruption could also be caused by flooding or extreme weather. Many critical processes and other areas of society depend on electricity. But also the failure of our satellite communications, aviation, shipping, gas or water supply could have far-reaching consequences. More than ever processes, companies and organisations are tied to each other and our society. That's why we are constantly monitoring what our society needs to function properly, so we know what is critical, what can happen and what we can do in the case of a disruption. Together, we work on a more resilient system. Will you join us?

(The Dutch coat of arms next to the text: National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism. Ministry of Security and Justice. The screen turns orange and white. On-screen text: A production by the Government of the Netherlands.)

Critical processes

Critical processes are processes that could result in severe social disruption in the event of their failure or disruption. The processes below have been identified as critical processes. A distinction can be made between two categories of critical processes, A and B. The failure of A-critical processes has greater potential effects than the failure of B-critical processes.

Critical processes
Critical processes Category Sector Ministry
National transport, distribution and production of electricity A Energy Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Regional distribution of electricity B
Gas production, national transport and distribution of gas A
Regional distribution of gas B
Oil supply A
Internet and data services B ICT/ Tel Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Internet access and data traffic B
Voice services and text messaging* B
Geolocation and time information by GNSS B Infrastructure and Water Management
Drinking water supply A Drinking water Infrastructure and Water Management
Flood defences and water management A Water Infrastructure and Water Management
Air traffic control B Transport Infrastructure and Water Management
Vessel traffic service B
Transport of persons and goods by (main) railway infrastructure  B
Transport by (main) road network B
Large-scale production/processing and/or storage of chemicals and petrochemicals B Chemistry Infrastructure and Water Management
Storage, production and processing of nuclear materials A Nuclear Infrastructure and Water Management
Retail transactions B Financial Finance
Consumer financial transactions B
High-value transactions between banks B
Securities trading B
Communication with and between emergency services through the 112 emergency number and C2000 B Public Order and Safety Justice and Security
Police deployment B
Personal and organisational record databases B Digital Government Interior and Kingdom Relations
Interconnectivity between record databases B
Electronic messaging and information disclosure to citizens B
Identification of citizens and organisations B
Military deployment B Defence Defence

* All ICT/Telecom processes are managed via fixed as well as mobile connections and infrastructure, with the exception of text messaging, which is managed via mobile connections and infrastructure only

Identifying critical processes allows the use of tools and scarce resources in a more efficient and targeted manner. The assessment distinguishes between two critical categories, A and B. The distinction between A- and B-critical can be helpful in prioritising incidents or the development of capacities to increase resilience.

Category A

This category includes infrastructure, in which disruption, damage or failure meets at least one of the three impact criteria and meets the criterion of cascade effects.

  • Economic impact: > approximately €50 billion in damage or an approximately five percent drop in real income.
  • Physical consequences: more than 10,000 dead, seriously injured or chronically ill.
  • Social impact: more than one million afflicted by emotional problems or serious problems with basic survival.
  • Cascade effects: failure results in the breakdown of at least two other sectors.

Category B

This category includes infrastructure, in which disruption, damage or failure meets at least one of the three impact criteria:

  • Economic impact: > approximately €5 billion in damage or an approximately one percent drop in real income.
  • Physical impact: more than 1,000 dead, seriously injured or chronically ill.
  • Social impact: more than 100,000 people afflicted by emotional problems or serious problems with basic survival.