The Minister of Justice and Security is responsible for:
- coordinating crisis management
- devising and implementing a crisis management policy and management system
- coordinating the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.
Individual ministries are responsible for organising and financing crisis management within their own policy field, coordinating them with the Minister of Security and Justice and public and private partners. They are also responsible for measures to be taken by vital industries, organisations, and installations within their remit.
The National Handbook on Decision-Making in Crisis Situations is the policy framework and guide for crisis planning and preparation. It applies throughout the whole of the Netherlands, including the Caribbean Netherlands unless stated otherwise.
The Netherlands is divided into 25 decentralised safety regions, representing the link between local civil protection organisations and national governmental institutions. They are run by a director, but politically headed by the mayors and the councils of the municipalities.
Central government intervenes in situations when some form of coordination of management is desirable or necessary. The government can intervene only in so far as its formal powers permit on the basis of emergency law or otherwise.
The National Operational Coordination Centre – part of the Ministry of Justice and Security – ensures an integrated approach to the operational aspects of crisis management at national level.
The National Network of Safety and Security Analysts coordinates the National Risk Assessment, providing an understanding of the most significant risks to Dutch national security.
The National Risk Assessment provides an overview of the main risks associated with different disasters, crises, and threats with potentially disruptive effects on society. Both non-malicious and malicious threats (safety and security), as well as internal and external risks and threats are included in this risk analysis.
The 25 safety regions coordinate the regional risk assessments for their regions. Each regional risk assessment provides an overview of the main risks in the region.
Risk communication and awareness raising
In an emergency, the National Crisis Communication Team (NCC) coordinates press and public information from the national government. The NCC advises crisis consultations at national level about the communication strategy to be followed and the communicative consequences of decisions taken or to be taken.
To this end, the NCC ‘brings the outside world in’ by monitoring and analysing the media, the internet and press, and public inquiries. It formulates coordinated communication frameworks and messages for all partners at government level. In addition, the NCC agrees on the timing and content of communications with other parties.
Crisis.nloffers general information on risks and how the general public can prepare for various types of incidents.
The management board of each safety region is responsible for informing citizens about the disasters and crises which may affect the population and the environment and on the measures which the government has taken to prevent and mitigate them.
Ministers remain responsible for giving specific information on possible crises within their area of responsibility. Communication should augment the resilience and self-sufficiency of the population.
The Minister of Justice and Security can impose rules on information disseminated and on communication facilities.
Training and exercises
The National Academy for Crisis Management is under the Ministry of Security and Justice.
It enhances the quality of crisis management by providing training programmes and organising exercises in collaboration with public and private partners and participating in international exercises.
Its purpose is to maintain the requisite level of preparedness and to identify potential improvements in the structure and organisation of crisis management.
The safety regions are responsible for the education and training of first responders in the region, including the fire brigade, and the coordination of emergency medical care. They also organise exercises for crisis management and disaster relief.
The Netherlands Institute for Public Safety supports the safety regions with educational programmes. The institute has several statutory responsibilities relating to fire services, disaster management, crisis management, and medical assistance.
Early warning systems
Complex crises require intense and broad cooperation among crisis management partners.
The Ministry of Justice and Security uses the National Crisis Management System (LCMS), which allows a broad group of crisis management partners to work together net-centrically and to use the LCMS for effective crisis management.
Net-centric cooperation means that organisations work together to create and maintain an up-to-date picture of the situation and take decisions about crisis management on the basis of this picture.
The Ministry of Justice and Security can also use Crisis.nl (in Dutch) as an information channel during a disaster or crisis. It provides information on the incident and on ways for people to reach safety.
The authorities also provide people in the immediate vicinity of an emergency (or impending emergency) with information in the form of an 'NL-Alert'. This is a text message that people receive on their mobile phones.
The core of the national crisis structure consists of the Interdepartmental (ICCB) and Ministerial Crisis Management Committees (MCCB).
The MCCB is chaired by the Minister of Justice and Security or the prime minister. It decides on all measures and provisions with a view to taking a coherent approach in a situation where national security is at stake or in any other situation that has or may have a major impact on society.
The ICCB is the committee on High Official Level Committee (DG). It is chaired by the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) and advises the MCCB and, if necessary and possible, also takes decisions itself.
If the emergency is localised, the mayor decides on all measures and provisions, while a local crisis management committee (GBT) gives advice. If an emergency affects more municipalities, the chairman of the safety region decides on all measures and provisions, instead of the mayors, and a regional crisis management committee (RBT) provides advice.
Cross-border, European and international cooperation
International cooperation also takes place with neighbouring countries in Benelux and in a European (Union civil protection, IPCR etc.) and NATO civil preparedness context. The Ministry of Justice and Security is responsible for the coordination of this international cooperation and the coordination of cross border disasters and crises.
The cooperation in Benelux takes place in the field of crisis management, (forest) firefighting, and ambulance caretakes. Cooperation takes the form of communication, assistance, coordination, and harmonisation of measures.
Facts & figures
General contact point
The formal contact point for more civil protection assistance requests is the National Crisis Centre (NCC), housed within the Department of Security and Justice. Official requests for assistance in a foreign country are formally decided upon by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Most common reasons for international cooperation and assistance are (i) cross-border threats, incidents, and disasters, (ii) humanitarian aid, and (iii) scarcity of professional specialisations and equipment.
The Netherlands takes part in both multilateral and bilateral EU agreements (with Benelux, Belgium, and Germany) on operational assistance.
The National Crisis Centre of the Netherlands is available 24/7 for (inter)national partners within government, science, and business at:
- +31 70 751 54 00
National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security
PO Box 16950
2500 BZ The Hague
Telephone: + 31 70 751 50 50
2511 DP The Hague
Telephone: +31 70 751 50 50 (from 08.00 to 17.00 on workdays)
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Last updated: 31/01/2023