Disruptions and gunshots in Amsterdam due to major counter-terrorism exercise

Disruptions and gunshots in Amsterdam due to major counter-terrorism exercise

The security region for in and around Amsterdam has announced that this week, emergency services will be running large-scale counter-terrorism exercises in parts of the city. Officials have told residents and visitors of the Dutch capital not to worry if they hear gunshots.

Amsterdam carrying out large-scale exercises this week

Anyone in or around the Westelijk Havengebied on March 28 or the Olympic Stadium on March 29 will likely notice that something is afoot. On these dates and in these areas, the police, emergency medical services, fire brigade, armed forces and the municipality will be responding to a fake terrorist attack as part of a large-scale counter-terrorism exercise. 

The exercise kicks off on Tuesday in the Westelijk Havengebied, a neighbourhood to the northwest of the centre of the city, where RTL Nieuws reports police and defence surveillance units will be located. The exercise will move to the area around the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. 

The security region has warned that locations where the exercises are taking place “will not be freely accessible to the public”. Drivers and cyclists should note that some roads will be closed off around the Olympic Stadium, and those in the area have been warned that members of the armed forces and police units will use practice ammunition as part of the exercises. Some civilians will also be present to act as victims of the imaginary attack.

Dutch emergency services preparing for "various types of incidents”

While the Amsterdam-Amstelland Security Region has emphasised that there is “currently no increased risk of a terrorist attack in Amsterdam or the surrounding area,” a statement on its website explains that such exercises are key to ensure that all emergency services are properly prepared to respond to “various types of incidents”, including terrorism, “prolonged power outages” and flooding.

This isn’t the first time emergency services have carried out such an exercise, but it is the first one done on this scale since 2017.

Thumb: Wirestock Creators via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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