|07THEHAGUE341||2007-02-23 14:42:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy The Hague|
VZCZCXRO6329 RR RUEHAT DE RUEHTC #0341/01 0541442 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 231442Z FEB 07 FM AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8292 INFO RUEHAT/AMCONSUL AMSTERDAM 2323
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 THE HAGUE 000341
1. Country clearance is granted for Commissioner Sudeen G.
Kelly to travel to the Netherlands from March 8-14, 2007 to
attend the Flame 2007 European Gas Conference, sponsored by
2. Embassy point of contact is Economic Officer (with energy
portfolio) Jason Heung - Emb. Tel: (31) (70) 310-2339;
Cell Phone: - (31) (65) 378-2313; Fax: (31) (70) 310-2348.
Mr. Heung would very much appreciate if you could forward any
summary material that conference organizers might produce.
3. Visitors who need unescorted access into secure areas of
the Mission must provide proof of a clearance. If level of
clearance was not provided in the original country clearance
request it should be done by separate cable. The cable
should include SSN, and the name of the agency granting the
security clearance. Cables must include the ASEC tag to
ensure distribution to the RSO office.
COMPUTER AND ELECTRONICS USE:
4. Inter-agency security standards prohibit the introduction
or use of non-USG owned computer hardware and software at all
USG diplomatic facilities. Cell phones, palm pilots, radios
and other convenience electronics are prohibited in all
secure areas of the Mission.
5. Travelers who anticipate having special needs in terms of
either access or computer usage should contact the RSO office
before arriving at post.
6. The Government of the Netherlands (GoN) assesses the
threat level of a terrorist incident for The Netherlands as
&substantial.8 This is the second highest of four threat
levels and is defined as a realistic threat that the
Netherlands will experience a terrorist attack. GoN has
implemented Counter-Terrorism and heightened security
measures in response.
7. US citizens in The Netherlands are encouraged to monitor
media reports, to maintain a high level of vigilance and to
take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.
American citizens should bear in mind that even
demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn
confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.
American citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations
if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity
of any demonstrations.
8. The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the
heightened possibility of terrorist attacks against U.S.
citizens and interests abroad. As noted in the Department of
State,s Worldwide Caution of October 11, 2006, terrorists do
not distinguish between official and civilian targets. Such
targets may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other
foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas,
clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and
public areas. Terrorist actions may include, but are not
limited to, suicide operations, assassination, hijackings,
bombings or kidnappings. These may involve aviation and
other transportation and maritime interests.
9. An area of concern for visitors to The Netherlands is
crime. Most crimes against officials Americans are limited
to pick-pocketing and purse and luggage theft. Theft from
automobiles and hotel rooms are also on the rise. Theft of
laptop computers has increased, especially at Schiphol
Airport and major train stations. The thieves operate in
small groups that target travelers. They are determined and
well-practiced at distraction theft. Official travelers have
been victimized, losing personal or unclassified government
computers, software and data. Travelers are reminded that
regulations require the use of the diplomatic pouch for
shipment of classified equipment and information.
10. Streets can be walked in relative safety but, as in any
U.S. urban area, caution and vigilance should be exercised
especially after dark in the more populated cities of The
Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Red-light districts and
public transportation hubs are common locations for incidents
of street crimes.
THE HAGUE 00000341 002 OF 002
OVERVIEW OF THE NETHERLANDS
11. The Netherlands is slightly less than twice the size of
New Jersey and has a population of 16.3 million. The
government is a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral
parliament. Queen Beatrix is the titular head of state and
has mostly ceremonial duties, but does retain some political
12. The Dutch economy depends on trade; Amsterdam's Schiphol
Airport (Europe,s fourth busiest) and the Port of Rotterdam
(Europe,s largest) make the country a gateway to Europe.
The Netherlands is the third largest source of foreign direct
investment in the United States and is the third largest
destination of foreign direct investment from the United
States. GDP is expected to grow by 2.5 to 3 percent in 2006,
which puts the Dutch ahead of eurozone averages for the first
time in seven years. Unemployment has fallen to 5.5 percent.
13. The Dutch generally take similar approaches to the U.S.
on international security, human rights, free trade, and rule
of law issues, although differences on specific policies are
not uncommon. The Dutch are committed internationalists who
support strong transatlantic ties through NATO and the
further development of the European Union. Long active in
peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, Dutch military forces
participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, made significant
contributions to stabilization efforts as part of Operation
Iraqi Freedom, and continue to take part in NATO's
International Security Force in Afghanistan. The Netherlands
is also an international legal center and hosts the
International Court of Justice, the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal
and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
14. The Netherlands is among the world's leading aid donors,
giving about 0.8% of its gross national product annually in
development assistance, making it the sixth largest donor
nation in dollar terms, and the fifth most generous relative
to GNP. The country consistently contributes large amounts of
aid through multilateral channels for education, the
environment, water, AIDS, and reproductive health care. The
Dutch provided extensive material support and expertise to
the New Orleans area following Hurricane Katrina thanks to
centuries of experience in holding back the North Sea.
15. The people of the Netherlands are predominantly ethnic
Dutch but with large minority communities from Morocco and
Turkey as well as from the Netherlands' current and former
overseas territories of the Dutch Antilles, Suriname, and
Indonesia. The influx of immigrants during the past three
decades has been accompanied by increased social tensions
between native-born Dutch and immigrant communities and led
to growing debate about social integration and an increased
emphasis on defining Dutch norms and values. The Muslim
community in the Netherlands is the second largest in Western
Europe as a percentage of the population (6 percent). The
majority are immigrant &guest workers8 and their
descendants; roughly a third of the Muslim population is of
Turkish descent, with another third of Moroccan descent. In
order to better explain our policies and gauge the Muslim
community,s concerns, the embassy has placed a high priority
on Muslim outreach.
16. The U.S. Mission to the Netherlands, including the
Embassy in The Hague and the Consulate General in Amsterdam,
has employees from the Departments of State, Commerce,
Agriculture, Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense, as well
as DEA and NASA. DHS,s Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) maintain
offices in Rotterdam and at Schiphol Airport. The FBI legal
attach and U.S. Secret Service Europol liaison are stationed
in The Hague. The Consulate General in Amsterdam serves a
resident American population of 41,000 in addition to nearly
one million U.S. visitors every year.
The State Department,s Country Background Notes on the
Netherlands are available on the internet: