Heavily-armed Amsterdam police to guard EU meetings

Dutch police Arrest team
File photo of a Dutch police arrest team (photo: Politie)File photo of a Dutch police arrest team (photo: Politie)

Police officers with machine guns will be guarding the Amsterdam Marine Establishment for official meetings during the Dutch presidency of the European Union in the first half of next year, Het Parool reports.

Twelve members of the police's special monitoring unit will be equipped with the same weapons the SWAT teams use - Heckler and Koch MP5's. Armored police cars will be stationed at the Establishment and police officers will be visible inside and outside the walls of the former naval docyard. The police will also deploy more than 200 motorcycle cops around meetings involving Ministers and European Commissioners to escort them to and from their meeting locations.

The entire Marine Establishment will be included in the security ring. Everyone who wants to enter the establishment will be screened and only accredited people will be allowed in. This includes employees working in the companies located on the property.

From January some 20 thousand officials plus ministers from across Europe will be meeting in Amsterdam. As most important decisions are made in Brussels, this should not include any government leaders. According to the newspaper, Ministers meet in the Maritime Museum and officials hold meetings in the Europa Building.

The choice for extra security was made due to the global terror threat, though there are no concrete signals of a threat to the city during the EU presidency. The threat level remains at "substantial".

Local residents were informed about this decision on Wednesday night. According to Het Parool, they were mostly understanding.