AIVD Annual report 2020: growing breeding ground for extremism 

National and international threats against Dutch society came in different and often very complex forms in 2020, also as a result of the corona pandemic. Anti-government protests created a breeding ground for extremism.

A small group of protesters justified intimidation, threats, and violence, with some even willing to resort to such methods.

It is important that this radical undercurrent be identified in time and that partners such as the National Police and the Public Prosecution Service are notified well in advance, so that they can take the necessary steps. 

Right-wing extremist groups are stepping out of the shadows, seeking out the general public. They present their ideas as respectable, gradually and insidiously gaining a foothold at public protests.

This shows how in right-wing extremism, which the AIVD mentioned in its annual report for the previous year, continued its upward trend in 2020, also among vulnerable young people. The AIVD remains alert to the risks.

Jihadist terrorism still the main threat

Jihadist terrorism is still the biggest threat to Dutch society, even though jihadists became less visible, and were confined to their homes as well due to the corona pandemic.  

The situation in the rest of the world has a significant influence on our country. A resurgence of ISIS or an attack in its name, or a new front opening up, could mobilise jihadists in the Netherlands and increase the threat they pose.

Structural effort to fight espionage

Espionage is a serious threat to Dutch economic security and prosperity. On a daily basis our country is a target for states looking to steal technology and knowledge. For that reason, the AIVD is investing in identifying, preventing, and countering espionage. 

This fight takes place more and more in the online world, but human sources also still come into play. In December 2020 the AIVD disrupted the intelligence-gathering activities of two Russian intelligence officers. We dismantled a substantial network of people sharing important technological knowledge with the spies.

Need for additional investments

In order to protect national security it is important to invest, when and where possible, in expanding our cybercapabilities. A strong, autonomous position with regard to national and international intelligence will enable the AIVD to react with maximum effect and flexibility to the ever-changing geopolitical circumstances and challenges.

This is how we look after the security and prosperity of our country, as we have been doing for 75 years.

You can download the report as a PDF file.