Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - The Netherlands

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - The Netherlands, 31 July 2012, available at: [accessed 20 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: The Netherlands continued to respond effectively to the global terrorist threat in the areas of border and transportation security, terrorist financing, and bilateral counterterrorism cooperation. In its December quarterly terrorism threat analysis, the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) maintained the national threat level at "limited," meaning chances of an attack in the Netherlands or against Dutch interests were relatively small but could not be ruled out entirely. According to the report, the threat of violent extremist networks in the Netherlands remained small, and resistance to terrorism by the Dutch population continued to be high.

In February, the Ministry of Security and Justice published the National Cyber Security Strategy, under which the government and business communities will intensify cooperation to fight cyber criminals and terrorists. As part of this strategy, the Cyber Security Council was set up in June to advise the government and private parties about relevant developments in the field of digital security.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: In January, the government published the first assessment of Dutch counterterrorist measures over the past decade. The study, by the Nijmegen Radboud University, concluded that Dutch counterterrorism policy was solid and reliable and the measures taken were not contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. Nevertheless, the government decided to withdraw its previously deferred Bill on Administrative National Security Measures, which, controversially, would have allowed the Security and Justice Ministry to issue restraining orders prohibiting a terrorism suspect's physical proximity to specific locations or persons.

The Netherlands remained strongly committed to effective cooperation with the United States on border security issues.

Law enforcement actions included:

  • In February, three Moroccan-Dutch nationals arrested in Amsterdam in November 2010 at the request of Belgian justice authorities on suspicion of engaging in international terrorism were extradited to Belgium.

  • Also in February, the public prosecutor's office dismissed the case against the last three Somali terrorist suspects who had been arrested in Rotterdam in December 2010 on suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities. At year's end, none of the 12 Somalis originally arrested had pending legal cases.

  • In April, at the request of U.S. authorities, the Dutch police arrested Dutch terrorist suspect Sabir Ali Khan at Schiphol airport. Khan was suspected of fighting against International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan. In October, the district court of Rotterdam declared Khan's extradition to the United States admissible, but Khan's attorney filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, where a verdict was pending at year's end.

  • In August, the Rotterdam district court released, without charge, an Iraqi national who was suspected by the General Intelligence Service of planning to join al-Qa'ida. However, the man remained a suspect, and the investigation was pending at year's end.

  • Also in August, the Netherlands extradited Somali citizen Mohamud Omar to the United States on terrorism charges.

  • In October, the District Court of The Hague imposed prison sentences of up to six years on five Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam supporters involved in raising funds for the group. The court found the five guilty of participating in a criminal and banned organization, but acquitted the five on charges of participating in an organization that intends to commit terrorist crimes.

Countering Terrorist Finance: The Netherlands is a member of the Financial Action Task Force. Dutch officials cooperated with the United States in designating terrorist organizations and interdicting and freezing their assets. In July, the Amsterdam district court annulled the foreign minister's decision to freeze the assets of the Netherlands International Humanitarian Relief Organization because it did not find any evidence that the group provided financial support to Hamas.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:

Regional and International Cooperation: The Netherlands is a founding member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and pledged to contribute to the creation of the Forum's Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism in the United Arab Emirates with expertise from Dutch scholars and institutes. The Netherlands also contributed to the counterterrorism work of the United Nations (UN) Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Netherlands continued to chair the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism's Nuclear Detection Working Group. In November, the NCTV, the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, INTERPOL, and the Netherlands Forensic Institute organized a global exercise aimed at the prevention of chemical terrorism (CHEMSHIELD 2011), in which more than 120 representatives from 35 countries (including the United States) and international organizations participated. In December, the International Center for Counterterrorism – established in The Hague in May 2010 – and UNICRI organized an international conference on prison radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration of violent extremist offenders. In October, the Netherlands hosted the civil aviation security conference AVSEC 2011 organized by the International Air Transport Association.

In 2011, the Netherlands had counterterrorism capacity building projects in Pakistan, Yemen, Morocco, and Algeria.

Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Netherlands has been a leader in countering violent extremism (CVE) thought and practice, and hosted a number of events that helped shape international thinking on CVE, including a multilateral symposium on good practices in the disengagement of incarcerated violent extremists and an ongoing international dialogue on the creation of a CVE repository. According to the NCTV report, the threat of violent extremist networks in the Netherlands remained small, and resilience by the Dutch population to radicalization and violent extremism remained high because of special campaigns aimed at prevention of radicalization and polarization. An evaluation of the Justice Ministry's three-year "Netherlands against Terrorism" campaign, which ended in 2010, concluded that confidence in the government's approach to terrorism increased strongly over the period. The campaign intentionally did not emphasize the threat but, rather, the 200,000 professionals doing their best to stay on top of the threat.

The Netherlands has a leading role in efforts to counter terrorist use of the internet, especially with respect to self-regulation. The Notice-and-Take-Down code of conduct, drawn up in 2008, is internationally recognized as a best practice in the field of self-regulation in the approach to illegal content on the internet. The code of conduct provides companies with clarity as to whether and how they should act against perceived illegal content hosted by them.

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