Amsterdam Airport and Testicles

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  • MartynSinclair

    I will preface this thread with an apology for the direct and rather brutal nature of the matter being discussed.

    Can someone please explain why there is a need for the security team at AMS to hand search, “high up the leg” during a secondary search.

    I was taken aside after walking through the body scanner this week. The male agent asked to search me and naturally I had no objection. That is until his hand went to the top of my right leg, with a quick intentional touch of my testicles, with the side of his hand.

    When he moved to my left leg I made a clear comment and request for him not to touch my testicles again. He answered that it is a requirement of AMS procedures to check “high up the leg”. Again I requested him not to touch my testicles and that is when he called a supervisor.

    The supervisor was very open and confirmed the checkers disliked the instruction as much as the passengers, but the “high up the leg check” was a standard protocol for AMS during a secondary. I asked what they were looking for and he said anything could be hidden “up there”. I then asked about an anal cavity search and whether that could be on the agenda as part of a secondary search, after all there is more space there…. He said there were no plans to include an anal cavity search (thank goodness for that!!).

    The supervisor was very polite but stuck to the story that this “high up the leg” secondary search was an airport requirement, and any complaints should be sent to AMS airport.

    I finally asked about the new scanners and why any frisking was needed when the equipment being used was meant to the sufficiently sophisticated for us to walk through a scanning machine with belts and shoes, as well as there being no need to remove liquids and computers.That question did not generate an answer.

    I will emphasise the agent and the supervisor were professional and addressed the issues, but on the basis I wasn’t going to include the airport police with my discussion, my right leg was reluctantly by me, searched “high up” with testicles again touched.

    I was also told ladies were having breasts felt on secondary searches because of metal in bras.

    Is this unique to AMS and is it acceptable???



    It’s a while since I travelled through AMS, but I have never come across this there or anywhere else. At CPH it was common for agents of both sex to screen passengers of both sex, but this was done using an electronic wand, which of course reduces the intimacy.


    That was a very “hands on approach” to keeping you safe!


    I reply, both as a regular traveller and as a former customs officer (in the 80s/90s when body and internal concealments were rife). I have to say that the searches undertaken by security at almost all airports are of limited value in terms of a determined disruptor. The most modern scanners are definitely a huge improvement, but the magic wand and the cursory pat downs undertaken in most places, give me no assurance whatsoever that we are protected.

    I cannot offer any real solution though, short of ever improved scanners. As Martyn implied, correctly, it would require much more intrusive, and unacceptable, searches in order to provide a satisfactory level of checks.


    I recall a football match in Munich (a number of years back so this may not age well). There were two distinct lines for the security check. One for a rather burly security guard, the other for a much younger lady. Needless to say the second queue was far shorter than the first


    AMS seems to have lately become a rather ‘difficult’ airport one way and another – the scanner seems not fit for purpose and the search totally unacceptable. Legal ?
    Something rather similar happened to me at Melbourne about 15 years back after being pulled aside but with a more satisfactory outcome.
    In a somewhat involuntarily reaction I shouted something like ‘Hey-stop that’ which drew a others passing to stop (which he instantly did and pulled away a couple of paces) .
    A supervisor appeared almost instantly whereby I recounted in a few words what had happened. He instantly apoligised in that direct way Australians have and escorted me the rest of the way mentioning that this should not have happened and would be dealt with and asking if I wanted to make a formal complaint – I didn’t.


    Oh man, that sounds like a really uncomfortable situation you went through at AMS. I’m not an expert, but from what I’ve heard, airport security procedures can vary from place to place. It might be worth reaching out to AMS airport directly to express your concerns and see if they can provide any clarification or reassurance about their protocols.


    Hi Martyn.
    Sorry you had this experience.

    I am about to fly into AMS with KLM from Far East, Tmrw…
    The new body scanners show all on an outline if they wish, so they need not examine yr shall we say “Personal equipment”!.
    Most of my Male Dutch friends n colleagues are 6ft 4 to 6ft 7,
    I am sitting with 5 Dutch colleagues.
    So “they would have to start far lower down as I am Dutch” they have just told me!

    Perhaps if we all protested and wore no underwear for the day, or had “some heavy metal” attached in that area, it would give them more of a handful of extra work!
    One of my other Dutch colleagues just said here, he would ask very loudly, “Did you include this for an extra security charge?
    Otherwise, you should find a special Amsterdam Club if you want to do this!”


    No offence meant, but it would reverse what they did back so many others can see and hear.
    I have found since employing more of these people at Schiphol, they are not the standards that they were before, some and rude and disinterested.
    So i told them out loud, and the Supervisor, and many travellers around me seemed to chip in and say yes this is true!


    Not only AMS, I recalled I was subjected to similar search (high up on leg, but could not feel anything as I wear tight underwear and jeans during travelling) at a few airports in Europe.

    Based on travelling all around the world, definitely security checks procedures vary, but there are some countries they do non-intrusive search very thoroughly with metal detector and that in my opinion is very effective.

    I may get comments on this but my opinion is that most funny security checks I encountered are mostly at so-called western developed counties; and to me those are dumb and dumber.


    I’ve heard of such services coming for a fee in Amsterdam before…

    Joking aside Martyn, a shame you had to experience this.


    I think one should emphasise the difference in touching between, “brushing against”,”touching lightly”, and “fondling”, “stroking”, “squeezing”,”clasping”,”rubbing” etc. These apply both to men and women. It is one thing to permit inspection by touch and quite another to open the door for abuse or possible mishandling.To avoid the latter checks would have to be made on security guards for possible histories of abuse. However, when the cost (background checks, double guards so one is vigilating the other) becomes too expensive to make it feasible then we have to question the action and consider dropping it to run with risk. I am sure nthat this is already done with certain categories of people, such as elderly ones, and minors. If there are so many ways round the restrictions of touch inspection then you have to question whether it is a really useful practice. I doubt it.


    I emailed a complaint to the Royal Netherlands Maechaussee. They responded within 6 hours and the crux of their response can be summarised in the following extract:

    “During the body search contact with private parts will be omitted as much as possible, but accidental touching of the private parts may occur.”

    This presumably gives security agents in the Netherlands full authority to sexually assault each and every passenger…. unless of course, I am misreading / interpreting / understanding the context of the sentence.

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