The Dutch State Secretary of Infrastructure, Sharon Dijksma (Labour) is getting actively involved in fighting the bustle on Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam’s intercontinental airport. The involvement is a response to long lines at the airport, which have lead to criticism in the past months. People complained about missing their connecting flights, due to long lines for security and passport checks.

This, in turn, lead to discussions between the government and Schiphol on how to improve the situation, with multiple ministries promising to step in. Dijksma has said that the situation at Schiphol has received top priority and that she wants travellers to know that:

It will still be busy. People will have to wait, but you don’t have to get there a day early if you want to make your flight.

To combat lines at the airport, which are considered damaging to the public Dutch image, help is sent in the form of prison wardens. Furthermore, the Ministery of Defense will field military personnel to help with checking vehicles at the borders and in the harbours, so theThe Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, the country’s Gendarmie, can be deployed to Schiphol instead.

At the heart of the issue lies the Marechaussee’s availability. Because of the terrorist threat and mass-immigration, the Marechaussee which is tasked with border security, has taken on many extra duties.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, an attempt has been made to inflate their numbers. A test has started at Schiphol to use ‘New Style Reservists.’ This is civilian personnel that has been given a six-week crash course in border protection, after which a candidate can call himself ‘Marechaussee’. Currently, one of these ‘New Style Reservist’ units is active, working at passport control. It is charged with deciding who can enter the Netherlands – and by extension the Schengen-area. A conventional Marechaussee goes through a rigorous, year-long training, including a so-called IBT-training, which includes firearm training and how to make an arrest. The ‘Reservists’ do not get this training.

The Marechaussee Union’s spokesman, Sven Schuitema calls this:

Life-threatening. Border security is not a class you master in six weeks. It is a job that demands experience and a keen eye for suspicious behaviour, also concerning passport control. This reservist wears a uniform, but no weapon. That is a risk, because he could be coming face to face with a terrorist, or a returning Jihadist. If the threat of an attack emerges, he cannot respond.

A spokesperson for the Royal Marechaussee confirms that the new style reservist is inexperienced and unarmed:

But he is always accompanied by an armed colleague. You don’t learn to be a Marechaussee in six weeks, that’s why we will evaluate the test to see what skills are lacking.

The announcement of greater government involvement at Schiphol comes a day after Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary called on the government to break Schiphol’s monopoly position. Ryanair has announced it will start proceedings against Schiphol. Schiphol owns a 51% share in Eindhoven Airport, and the airport at Lelystad, which is under construction.