Netherlands reduces terrorist threat level for the first time in six years
For the first time in six years, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) has reduced the national terror threat level in the Netherlands, from 4 / 5 to 3 / 5. This is in response to the falling number of attacks across Europe.
Terror threat conceivable
The last time the threat level was changed in the Netherlands was in 2013, when it was put up to a level three on a scale of one to four. In 2016, an extra level was added to the threat level scale and from then onwards the Netherlands has been at 4 / 5. The only time the country was put up to a level five was straight after the tram attack in Utrecht on March 18, 2019. Level five was only in place for a few hours, however.
Last year, the terror threat level was at 4 / 5, meaning that there is a substantial threat and a realistic chance of a terrorist attack happening. The NCTV has now reduced this level to 3 / 5, meaning that a terrorist attack is conceivable.
According to the NCTV, “Since the end of 2017, the threat to the Netherlands has changed. Sporadic jihadist attacks are still being carried out in the West, but the situation is not comparable with the period between 2015 to 2017, when dozens of attacks were carried out each year in Europe.” The trend of fewer attacks appears to be continuing, and this is the reason for the decrease of the national terror threat level.
Security services should remain alert
Whilst the threat level has been lowered slightly, this doesn’t mean that security services should not remain alert as ever, substantiated by the recent arrest of two men in Zoetermeer suspected of preparing a terrorist attack.
On the positive side of things, repressive governmental measures against terrorist organisations seem to be working. There is, however, always the possibility that the Netherlands is the target of an attack prepared abroad by ISIS or al Qa’ida.