Rotterdam takes extra measures against terrorist attacks

Ahmed Abou Taleb
Ahmed Aboutaleb mayor of Rotterdam. (Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb )

The municipality of Rotterdam is taking extra measures to better protect the city against terrorist attacks, the city announced on Wednesday. One of these measures includes placing obstacles to prevent vehicles driving into parts of the city where many pedestrians gather. These extra measures are in line with the current threat level in the Netherlands. "There is currently no concrete information about an attack", the municipality emphasized, AD reports.

A few months ago Rotterdam's triangle of police, prosecutor and municipality and the mayor and aldermen started mapping vulnerable public locations in the city, mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said according to the Telegraaf. "A first inventory was made based on the symbolic function of a location, the crowd that gathers there and the ability to drive into it. We want to provide these facilities with the necessary protection by increasing physical resilience", Aboutaleb said.

The first places to receive attention will be entertainment areas like Witte de Withstraat and the Meent. Obstacles to prevent cars driving into pedestrians will also be included in the current redesign of the Coolsingel. "These locations have many entertainment areas with terraces that are adjacent to public roads", a spokesperson for Aboutaleb explained to AD. Obstacles will be placed to make it difficult for vehicles to drive over the sidewalks. "The two streets will not be closed to traffic", the spokesperson said.

The municipality's starting point is to keep Rotterdam an accessible and beautiful city, so the obstacles will not necessarily be concrete blocks. "You can put down plant pots, poles, benches, higher sidewalks. In this way we make it impossible to drive into a terrace", the spokesperson said to the newspaper. 

The municipality is also looking at other busy locations in the city. 

These extra measures are in response to terrorist attacks in other parts of Europe, according to newspaper AD. Rotterdam itself recently had a terrorism scare in which a concert by American band Allah-Las was canceled. The new measures come in addition to extra security already given to large events.