Royal Netherlands Army

The Royal Netherlands Army (Dutch: Koninklijke Landmacht) is the land branch of the Netherlands Armed Forces. Though the Royal Netherlands Army was raised on 9 January 1814, its origins date back to 1572, when the Staatse Leger was raised making the Dutch standing army one of the oldest in the world. It fought in the Napoleonic Wars, World War II, the Indonesian War of Independence, and the Korean War and served with NATO on the Cold War frontiers in West-Germany from the 1950s to the 1990s.[4]

Royal Netherlands Army
Koninklijke Landmacht
Emblem of the Royal Netherlands Army
Founded9 January 1814; 209 years ago (1814-01-09)
Country Netherlands
RoleLand warfare
  • 23,370 (July 2021):[1]
  • 16,055 active
  • 3,261 civilian
  • 4,054 reserve
Part ofNetherlands Armed Forces
HeadquartersKromhoutkazerne, Utrecht
CommanderLt Gen Martin Wijnen[2]
Deputy commanderMaj Gen Rob Jeulink
Army AdjutantWO Ad Koevoets[3]
Flag used on government buildings

Since 1990, the army has been sent into the Iraq War (from 2003) and into the War in Afghanistan, as well as deployed in several United Nations' peacekeeping missions (notably with UNIFIL in Lebanon, UNPROFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina and MINUSMA in Mali).[5]

The tasks of the Royal Netherlands Army are laid out in the Constitution of the Netherlands: defend the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (including the Dutch Caribbean) and of its allies, protect and advance the international legal order and to support the (local) government in law enforcement, disaster relief and humanitarian aid, both nationally and internationally.[6] The supreme authority over the armed forces of the Netherlands is exercised by the government (consisting of the King and the cabinet ministers); there is thus no constitutional supreme commander. However, army personnel does swear allegiance to the Dutch monarch.[7]

Dutch army doctrine strongly emphasises international co-operation.[8] The Netherlands are a founding member of, and strong contributor to NATO, while closely co-operating with fellow member states during European Union-led missions as well. Moreover, the successful Dutch-German military co-operation is seen as a harbinger of European defence integration, facing fewer linguistic and cultural issues than the comparable Franco-German Brigade.[9] In 2014, the 11 Airmobile Brigade was integrated into the Rapid Forces Division;[10] in 2016, the Dutch-German 414 Tank Battalion was integrated into the 43rd Mechanised Brigade, which was in turn integrated 1st Panzer Division.[9][11] Additionally, the German Air Defence Missile Group 61 (German: Flugabwehrraketengruppe 61) was integrated into the Dutch Joint Ground-based Air Defence Command in 2018.[12]

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