26 November 2011
The Schipol Airport’s practice welcoming pilgrims returning from Mecca with a small room providing mint tea and sweets has angered MP Hero Brinkman of the PVV Freedom Party. Brinkman contrasted the practice with an apparent lack of Christmas decoration at the airport. A Schipol spokesperson explains that due to the upcoming festival of Sinterklaas the airport is not yet decorated for Christmas, but will soon “go all out”. The airport emphasized it is a tradition of many years to welcome pilgrims returning home from Mecca “out of a spirit of hospitality”.
September 22 2010
Dutch authorities arrested a British Somali man on Sunday at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport on suspicions of terrorism. The man was on his way from London to Entebbe, Uganda. The arrest followed a tipoff from British police, and the man was subsequently questioned by Dutch and British authorities.
The man was released on Wednesday morning, as the investigation into the man and his travel plans did not turn up any incriminating evidence.
Dutch coverage of the December 25 attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to set off an explosion on the Northwest Air flight from Amsterdam to Detroit has centered largely on security issues. As Dutch News reports, national papers devote much attention to reconstructing what happened on board flight 253, the actions of the passenger who overpowered the alleged terrorist, and the implications regarding security screening at Schipol airport.
Articles in Elsevier and Telegraaf question the level of experience among security employees at Schipol, also questioning whether some security personnel may have had “sympathy for Muslim terrorists”, citing a source who claims there was “rejoicing among Muslim security workers” during the attacks of September 11 2001. The security issue continues to frame Dutch discussion of the attack, and the Netherlands has announced plans to use full body scans for flights bound for the United States.