The Dutch authorities have raised the country’s terrorism threat level to the second-highest level possible, meaning that security services believe the risk of a terrorist attack taking place in the Netherlands is “substantial”. The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) cites a “sum of developments” in Europe and across the world as the reason for the increased threat.

Israel-Hamas war, Quran burnings and IS / Al-Qaeda propaganda increase extremism

The NCTV has pointed to a number of significant developments in world affairs that have caused an increase in extremism and extremist content online. The security services said the factors that could increase extremism include the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, several high-profile burnings of the Quran in a number of European countries and calls for terrorist attacks by several large terrorist groups including Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda. 

The authorities have raised the level from three (significant risk of a terrorist attack) to four (substantial risk of a terrorist attack). The only level above four is level five, with the latter meaning that an attack is in the “critical” phase and will take place imminently.

Online radicalisation remains a problem in the Netherlands

Though the security services stated their particular concern about online radicalisation of an Islamist-extremist nature, there are also concerns about right-wing extremism on the internet in the Netherlands. According to the NCTV, messages shared online within right-wing extremist groups often feature Nazi content, or even call for a so-called “race war”. 

Though the NCTV states that right-wing extremists “generally see violence as counterproductive”, and that the level of right-wing extremism in the Netherlands is generally unchanged, they do note that these groups focus instead on attempting to normalise extreme-right viewpoints within the political system and society more generally. The security services say that this means that while these groups do not focus their main efforts on promoting violence, right-wing terrorism is still conceivable “due to online radicalisation”.

Image: Jan van Dasler /

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