Friday 25 September 2020

Amsterdam has anti-terror blocks but you can sit on them

Photo: Arena73 via Wikimedia Commons

Amsterdam city council has placed giant concrete blocks in a number of locations in the centre of the city in a bid to protect people against terrorist attacks using vehicles, Dutch media report.

The blocks, 96 in all, have been put in such busy city hotspots and potential terrorist targets as Dam square, Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and near the Heineken Experience. Concrete blocks were earlier placed on the square outside the capital’s central station.

The move, which comes in the run-up to the festive season, was long dismissed by the late Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan who thought the blocks would create an unwarranted sense of safety and even inspire fear.

Last year Van der Laan had blocks removed on Museumplein placed there by the organisers of the Christmas market who feared a reprisal of the attack in Berlin on the grounds that there was no concrete threat, the Volkskrant writes.

Nevertheless, this August, the mayor did say extra precautions would be taken at various locations around the city.

So far no blocks have been placed at either end of busy shopping street Kalverstraat or Nieuwendijk although shopkeepers called for them in the wake of the Barcelona attacks.

The concrete blocks weigh between 400 and 500 kilos. To make them less forbidding, the blocks on Dam square and Leidseplein have been made to look like benches.

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