Laws and regulations (counterterrorism/cyber security/national security)

Laws and regulations (counterterrorism/cyber security/national security)

A number of changes have been made in national laws and regulations with respect to the three pillars of the NCTV: counterterrorism (in support of the Netherlands comprehensive action programme to combat jihadism), protecting the national security (crisis management) and in the field of cyber security.

Below is an overview of the laws and legislative proposals for each subject. The Dutch Penal Code also has been amended with respect to these subjects; these amendments are not specified. More information can also be found at

Laws and regulation counterterrorism

Terrorist Offences Act

Recruitment for armed struggle and conspiracy with the intent to commit a serious terrorist offence are, separately, made punishable by law. Maximum penalties for offences such as manslaughter, aggravated assault, hijacking or kidnapping are increased once these are committed with 'terrorist intent'. Recruitment for violent extremism is penalized by adjusting Article 205 of the Dutch Penal Code. As such, recruiting for armed struggle can be punishable, even if it is (as yet) uncertain if those persons recruited intent to contribute to the armed struggle in any organised context.

Furthermore, conspiracy to commit terrorist offences will be penalized by law separately. It intends to simplify the initiation of criminal proceedings against terrorist networks and movements operating in loose and changing alliances. Criminalisation of conspiracy to commit serious terrorist offences aims to punish and combat terrorism as effectively as possible.

Investigation of Terrorist Offenses Act

With this act, it is no longer required to have a reasonable suspicion of a criminal offence for the use of special investigative methods - such as observation, infiltration, undercover purchase, telephone tap, preventative body searches and having vehicles and objects searched. Furthermore, it is possible to place suspects in custody sooner in case of a terrorist threat.

Indications of a terrorist attack being prepared is sufficient for deploying special investigative methods. Such indications exist if facts and circumstances point to the preparation of an attack.

Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act

Merging together the Identification for the Provision of Services (Identification) Act and the Disclosure of Unusual Transactions (Financial Services) Act into one act, which aims to prevent the use of the financial system for money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations

Prior to this, bank accounts were already being frozen of those organisations listed on a terrorism list of the United Nations (UN) or the European Union (EU). This way their financial activities were being restrained. In accordance with the NGO Treaty, such an organisation is also no longer allowed to be active in the Netherlands in a different way. For example, by recruiting new members or appointing managing directors. The ban also includes organisations of which the UN or EU have determined that they pose a danger to the international peace and security. The EU adopts the lists unanimously.

Act sanctioning the Convention on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation

Convention between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Austria on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation, particularly in combatting terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration.

Legislative proposals of the comprehensive action programme to combat jihadism

Within the framework of the Netherlands comprehensive action programme to combat jihadism, legislative proposals are submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives for discussion. The latest information is listed in the appendices of the progress reports of the Action Programme.

Precursors for explosives Act

This act limits the availability of products that are used to make explosive devices at home by:

  1. Limiting the sale of specific explosives precursors by introducing a licensing requirement for individuals. Products containing the (named) substances in question at concentrations above the limit can only be sold to individuals that hold a licence.
  2. Making it compulsory for operators established in the Netherlands to report suspicious transactions, disappearances and thefts of these explosives precursors (and a number of other explosives precursors for which a reporting obligation exists) to the government ('Reporting suspicious transactions').

Other powers

Powers of persistence

The Minister of Security and Justice has been given the power of persistence by Royal Decree when it comes to preventing terrorist offences. This means that he has the authorisation to also take measures in the fields of other ministers in case of acute terrorist threats. These may entail evacuations, blocking the roads, cancelling trains or flights, or ceasing telecom traffic in a certain region.

Laws and regulation national security (crisis management)

Dutch Aviation Act

The Minister of Security and Justice is responsible for the safety of civil aviation. This mandate is stipulated in Article 37ab of the Dutch Aviation Act. Part 3A of this act refers to civil aviation security. Articles 37a to 37s see to the security of aerodromes and aircraft. Articles 37t to 37v refer to the supervision of security measures. A legislative proposal to amend the Dutch Aviation Act will be presented to the House of Representatives in the spring of 2016. This amendment will regulate the implementation of a number of European regulations in the field of civil aviation security by law.

Furthermore, a number of implementation arrangements are in place based on the Dutch Aviation Act, such as the Decision Civil Aviation and the Regulation Implementation Civil Aviation security 2010, and various general and specific instructions.

Dutch Safety Regions Act

The Dutch Safety Regions Act aims to realise an efficient and high-quality organisation of fire services, medical assistance and crisis management under one regional administrative authority. Pursuant to the law, as a regional regulation, the safety regions have to be structured on the same level as the police regions. The administrative structure of the disaster response and crisis management is set out in clear duties and powers. Fire brigade and the medical emergency response organisations within the Region (GHOR) will fall under the scope of one board, having the same members as the board of the police. Managing the emergency services and pursuing one coordinated approach will then become more efficient and effective. The same applies to the cooperation between the police and the multidisciplinary operational services. The regional scale will enhance further professionalism. Aligning the territorial division provides an essential basis for multidisciplinary action in the event of disaster or crisis. Because of the fact that the safety region is designed via extended local government, the commitment of the municipalities for the fire brigade and disaster response remains. Upon implementing the Dutch Safety Regions Act, the foundations are laid for the organisation of disaster response and crisis management, with the intended purpose: to better protect citizens against risks.

Law and regulations cyber security

Legislative proposal cyber security data processing and duty to report

The legislative proposal cyber security data processing and duty to report consists of three components; the duties and powers of the NCSC, a duty to report IT breaches and the confidentiality of information stored at NCSC.

First of all, the legislative proposal sets out the duties and powers of the NCSC in relation to data processing. This will consolidate the basis for data processing by the NCSC. In addition, the legislative proposal introduces a duty to report IT breaches that would have a serious adverse impact on the availability or reliability of vital products and services used in society. Thirdly, the legislative proposal lays down rules concerning the confidentiality of information stored at the NCSC, by providing a framework within which the NCSC may or may not disclose any confidential information.

The legislative proposal is being considered by the House of Representatives.