The Anne Frank Museum in central Amsterdam is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk. Security concerns had been voiced by the local Jewish community that this significant, modern historical monument could be used as a terrorist target.
Concerns were further substantiated after Counter Terrorism Advisors identified that daily queues for entry to the landmark museum regularly exceed 1 kilometre. This meant that the visitor attraction presented a crowded places risk in addition to being classed as critical national infrastructure.
The Counter Terrorism section of the Dutch Police Force was investigating certified, impact tested perimeter protection solutions (PAS 68) on behalf of Amsterdam City Council. Once the initial research stage had been completed, physical security manufacturers were approached by Amsterdam City Council directly to devise a solution.
Understanding the Site Specific Challenges:
The heritage site presented some site specific challenges due to its location and also the building design. It was imperative for Amsterdam City Council to source a product with a slim profile so that the measures installed blend with the surrounding heritage environment. The security product chosen also needed to have achieved almost no penetration when impacted. The distance available between the perimeter line and the infrastructure was minimal.
Only 400 millimetres of excavation depth was available due to buried utilities. To redirect services and main pipes is incredibly costly and very disruptive to an area. Redirecting services was not an option for the Council. In addition to the depth restraint, the Utility companies wanted the bollards to be relatively easily removed so they could access respective ducts if a problem occurred.
To install perimeter security measures once selected within an extremely crowded area in peak tourist season was logistically very challenging. Full consideration of how this would be tackled was needed from the security product supplier before the solution was chosen.
Finally, due to Amsterdam’s high, cycling population, there is potential for impact from bicycles, causing aesthetic damage to the perimeter security bollards. Consideration to long-term durability needed to be made. Sleeves were designed specially with an anti-skid coating, aiming to reduce the visual impact of any bicycle knocks.
Finding the Right Security Solution:
After being in contact with ATG Access for a couple of years throughout the research process, Amsterdam City Council chose the company to meet their retrospective security objective. Having proposed two, shallow foundation bollards, both meeting the security level required; one rectangular in shape and one, circular. Amsterdam City Council chose the more traditional round bollard as it was considered to be more sympathetic with the heritage surroundings. The product had a slim profile with a diameter of just over 200 millimetres and a depth requirement of just 176 millimetres.
Once the project had been awarded to ATG Access, the company designed the layout of the shallow foundation bollards in separate arrays of three to comply with maximum lifting weights specified by the utility companies for emergency removal if required.
The layout drawings were provided to the client from ATG’s CAD Engineers showing an individual part number marked on each shallow foundation base. This complied with the manufactured shallow foundation bases which had part numbers laser cut into the bases. The numbers alongside directional arrows also laser cut into the plates were all designed to make the product installation straightforward, minimising disruption.
Installation of the selected security measures was organised for night time to eradicate any disruption to the building and visiting public during business hours. This was made possible due to the product selection – shallow foundation bollards.
Twenty eight, shallow foundation bollards were ordered, manufactured and delivered to the project’s main contractor in Amsterdam in just eight weeks. ATG’s Director of Engineering travelled to Amsterdam a week prior to the security installation to train the main contractor prior to the arranged, night-time installation. ATG’s Director of Engineering then travelled back to Amsterdam with the region’s Export Manager to Project Manage the night time installation and complete the project.
All twenty eight bollards were installed in three night time shifts which included re-instating previously installed ‘Jersey Barrier’ products each night so that the public space was operational and fully secure each morning. The Anne Frank Museum remained operational throughout the installation and visitor numbers were unaffected.
This was a small project in terms of product volume and commercial revenue in comparison with other global projects executed by ATG Access. The company built a great rapport with Amsterdam City Council and as a result hope to implement further security projects for them in the future.
The project attracted significant local press coverage in Amsterdam interested in counter terrorism measures implemented to the iconic, national monument. Most importantly, in light of recent events in Nice, France; the Dutch Police & Amsterdam City Council has shown a proactive approach to protecting their national assets and infrastructure. Identifying the risk, finding the correct solution that works with the existing infrastructure, works on both an aesthetic and operational level, and mitigates the identified risk to the asset and its visitors is to be applauded.
This project alone clearly demonstrates that the hostile vehicle mitigation market place is not always found in the conventional critical infrastructure sectors such as power generation, airports, financial institutions and military bases. It also provides a fantastic example of a successful retrospective security project.
It is worth looking at specific market places and considering the potential for security measures to Cultural Centres, Museum National Monuments and crowded spaces generally. A lot of stakeholders in this sector dismiss hostile vehicle mitigation protection as they feel it will detract from the appearance of the local environment or create a fortress mentality.
Security product manufacturers have to continually educate and remain flexible with designers, architects and local authority planners to prove that they can blend fully globally certified security products with the local streetscape.
The vast majority of the general public and tourists would never know the actual purpose of properly executed hostile vehicle mitigation installations. Outside the certified and tested core of hostile vehicle mitigation products, suppliers can be extremely flexible and inventive on the final appearance to appease clients and heritage sites.