A Toxic Cloud of Smoke: Communication and Coordination in a Transboundary Crisis

  • Arjen BoinEmail author
  • Sanneke Kuipers
  • Tim de Jongh
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


This chapter analyses what should have been a routine crisis: a fire at a chemical plant near Rotterdam. At the operational level, it was effectively treated as a routine incident. The fire services performed adequately. But this routine crisis turned into a stress test for the Dutch crisis response system. As a cloud of smoke crossed the local and regional boundaries that make up the Dutch system, collaboration between the safety regions began to flounder. Different actors communicated different messages to the public. The national level became involved. In the end, the response appeared chaotic and ineffective. This chapter analyses how and why the Dutch national response system could not cope with this prototype of a transboundary crisis.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Public Institutions and Governance, Institute of Political ScienceLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute of Security and Global AffairsLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Independent ResearcherLeidenThe Netherlands

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