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Reporters drive fake bomb into royal palace

A special edition of investigative TV programme Undercover in Nederland on Sunday showed how reporters drove into one of Queen Beatrix’s royal palaces in a van carrying a fake bomb.

The two reporters arrived in a white van at Paleis Noordeinde, a palace in The Hague where the Queen has offices and a personal study. They calmly announced to security guards that they were from a maintenance company. A simple ID or licence plate check would have revealed the reporters’ true identity. Had the guards looked in the back of the van they would have found a bundle of fake explosives wired to a ticking clock. Instead they simply waved the reporters through.

Puzzled
The programme makers of the commercial Undercover in Nederland (Undercover in the Netherlands) TV programme claim security at the royal palace is structurally flawed. After several days, the military police responsible for guarding the palace finally telephoned the invented maintenance company ‘Broekman & Janssen’ on a mobile phone number. In a series of friendly but puzzled conversations with the programme makers, the police failed to work out their true identity.

Although the military police eventually realised the two bogus maintenance workers should not have been allowed through the gates, the guards had kept no records of their identity. The reporters also easily obtained the supposedly secret number of the palace security through number recognition on their phone.

Attacker
Since the attempted Queen’s Day attack on the royal family this year, the issue of royal security is especially sensitive in the Netherlands. During a procession in Apeldoorn, a lone attacker, Karst Tates, tried to drive his car into an open bus carrying the royal family. Seven bystanders were killed as the car careered through the crowd.

The National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Erik Akeboom, agrees that mistakes were made in palace security. He said security at the palace would now be tightened. Opposition party leaders interviewed in the programme expressed their outrage that it should have been so easy for the reporters to breach security. They are calling the ministers responsible to account for the security failure.

 

 

Royal palace Paleis Noordeinde, The Hague - Flickr / Pieter Musterd
 

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This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011 Dutch government’s decided to cut funding and shift RNW in 2013 from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW’s current activities can be found at http://www.rnw.org/about-rnw