|Royal Netherlands Navy|
|Founded||8 January 1488|
|Size||7,342 Active military personnel (2020)
19 helicopters: NH-90.
|Part of||Armed forces of the Netherlands|
|Motto(s)||Veiligheid op en vanuit zee |
Security on and from the sea.
|March||Royal Netherlands Navy Service Marchpast|
|Engagements||Eighty Years' War |
War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Quadruple Alliance
French Revolutionary Wars
World War II
Battle of Arafura Sea
|Commander||Vice-Admiral René Tas|
|Deputy commander||Rear admiral Huub Hulsker|
|Michiel de Ruyter, Piet Hein, Maarten Tromp|
During the 17th century, the navy of the Dutch Republic (1581–1795) was one of the most powerful naval forces in the world and played an active role in the Anglo-Dutch Wars, the Franco-Dutch War, and wars against Spain and several other European powers. The Batavian Navy of the later Batavian Republic (1795–1806) and Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810) played an active role in the Napoleonic Wars, though mostly dominated by French interests.
After the establishment of the modern Kingdom of the Netherlands, it served an important role in protecting Dutch colonial rule, especially in Southeast Asia, and would play a minor role in World War II, especially against the Imperial Japanese Navy. Since World War II, the Royal Netherlands Navy has taken part in expeditionary peacekeeping operations.
The main naval base is in Den Helder, North Holland. Secondary naval bases are in Amsterdam, Vlissingen, Texel, and Willemstad (Curaçao). Netherlands Marine Corps barracks are in Rotterdam, Doorn, Suffisant on Curaçao, and Savaneta on Aruba.
Officers of the Nederland Navy are trained at the Royal Naval Institute (Koninklijk Instituut voor de Marine), which is part of the Netherlands defence academy (Nederlandse Defensie Academie) in Den Helder. Around 100–150 people start training every year.
An international prefix for ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy is HNLMS (His/Her Netherlands Majesty's Ship). The Netherlands navy itself uses the prefixes Zr.Ms. (Dutch: Zijner Majesteits, lit. 'His Majesty's') when a king is on the throne, and Hr.Ms. (Dutch: Harer Majesteits, lit. 'Her Majesty's') when there is a queen. This happens automatically at the moment the previous monarch ceases to reign.
The modern Netherlands Navy dates its founding to a "statute of admiralty" issued by Maximilian, King of the Romans and his son Philip the Fair, the ruler of Burgundian lands (a minor at that time) on 8 January 1488. This is also the date accepted by Wragg. Richard Ernest Dupuy and Trevor Nevitt Dupuy consider this as the founding date of the administrative foundations of the Dutch navy. Sicking opines that the 1488 Ordinance marked a departure point from previous policies by establishing a centralized structure, although the objectives of the Ordinance initially could not be carried out because of strong opposition and unfavourable political climate (for example, the first central Admiral, Philip of Cleves, sided with the rebels against Maximilian since 1488). The situation improved with the appointment of Philip of Burgundy-Beveren in 1491, and especially since the tenures of Adolf and Maximilian of Burgundy. A true permanent central navy only emerged after the 1550-1555 period, under the governorship of Mary of Hungary, with Cornelis de Schepper also playing a major role.
Jaap R. Bruijn traces the origins of an independent Dutch navy to the early stages of the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) while the formation of a "national" navy is dated to the establishment of the Dutch Republic in 1597.
The Netherlands navy was involved in several wars against other European powers from the late 16th century, initially for independence against Spain in European waters, later for shipping lanes, trade and colonies in many parts of the world, notably in four Anglo-Dutch wars against England. During the 17th century the Dutch navy was one of the most powerful navies in the world. As an organization, the navy of the Dutch Republic consisted of five separate admiralties (three of them in Holland, and one each in Friesland and Zeeland), each with its own ships, personnel, shipyards, command structures and revenues.
At the start of WW2 the Dutch had five cruisers, eight destroyers, 24 submarines, and smaller vessels, along with 50 obsolete aircraft. The Netherlands was conquered in 1940 by Nazi Germany in a matter of days, and two Dutch light cruisers and one destroyer leader and three destroyers that were under construction were captured in their shipyard.
For the rest of the war, the Dutch navy was based in Allied countries: the Dutch navy had its headquarters in London, and smaller units in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) and Western Australia. Around the world Dutch naval units were responsible for transporting troops, for example during Operation Dynamo at Dunkirk and on D-Day, they escorted convoys and attacked enemy targets. Dutch submarines scored some victories, including one on a Kriegsmarine U-boat U-95 in the Mediterranean Sea, which was sunk by O 21, but during the war the Dutch Navy suffered heavy losses, particularly in the Pacific Theatre.
A small force of submarines based in Western Australia sank more Japanese ships in the first weeks after Japan joined the war than the entire British and American navies together during the same period, an exploit which earned Admiral Helfrich the nickname "Ship-a-day Helfrich". The aggressive pace of operations against the Japanese was a contributing factor to both the heavy losses sustained and the greater number of successes scored as compared to the British and Americans in the region.
But during the relentless Japanese offensive of February through April 1942 in the Dutch East Indies, the Dutch navy in Asia was virtually annihilated, particularly in the Battle of the Java Sea (27 February 1942) in which the commander, Karel Doorman, went down with his fleet along with 1,000 sailors. The Navy sustained losses of a total of 20 ships (including two of its three light cruisers) and 2,500 sailors killed in the course of the campaign. The Dutch navy had suffered from years of underfunding and came ill-prepared to face an enemy with more and heavier ships with better weapons, including the Long Lance-torpedo, with which the cruiser Haguro sank the light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter.
After the war, the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies changed dramatically. The establishment of the Republic of Indonesia, two days after the Japanese surrender, thwarted the Dutch plans for restoring colonial authority. After four years of war the Netherlands acknowledged the independence of Indonesia.
Part of the Dutch Navy was next stationed in Netherlands New Guinea until that, too, was turned over to the Indonesian government in 1962. This followed a campaign of infiltrations by the Indonesian National Armed Forces, supported by modern equipment from the Soviet Union, that was nevertheless successfully repulsed by the Dutch navy. These infiltrations took place after the order of President Sukarno to integrate the territory as an Indonesian province.
With the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the military focus was on the army and air force; it was not until the Korean War (1950–53) that the navy got more recognition. The government allowed the creation of a balanced fleet consisting of two naval squadrons. Apart from the aircraft carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman the Dutch navy consisted of two light cruisers (two De Zeven Provinciën class), 12 destroyers (four Holland class, eight Friesland class), eight submarines, six frigates ( van Speijk-class frigates), and a considerable number of minesweepers.
As a member of NATO, the Netherlands developed its security policy in close cooperation with other members. The establishment of the Warsaw pact in 1955 intensified the arms race between West and East. Technical innovations rapidly emerged, the introduction of radar and sonar were followed by nuclear weapon systems and long-range missiles. The geopolitical situation allowed for a fixed military strategy. Beginning in 1965, the Dutch Navy joined certain permanent NATO squadrons like the Standing Naval Force Atlantic.
The constituent parts of the Royal Netherlands Navy are:
Contains all surface combatants, replenishment ships, and amphibious support ships.
Houses the submarines and a support vessel.
Contains various minehunters.
The Dienst der Hydrografie (Hydrographic Service) is responsible for relevant hydrographic surveys.
Although the Netherlands Coastguard is not an official part of the Navy, it is under its operational control. Also the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard is under the operational control of the Navy and is commanded by the commander of the Navy in the Caribbean.
The Royal Netherlands Navy currently operates 7 main classes of vessels:
|Type ship||Defensenote 1974||Defensenote 1984||Priority Document 1993||Navy study 2005||Economize 2011||Defensenote 2018|
|M frigates||4 ||8 ||8||2||2||2|
|L frigates||1 ||2||2|
|LRMP Aircraft||21||13 ||13|
|Helicopters||36 ||30 ||20||20||20||20|
* The Royal Netherlands Navy classifies the De Zeven Provinciën-class as frigates, but internationally they are most comparable to destroyers (due to their size and weapon capability) platform for Sea Based Anti-Ballistic Missile defence
Since the retirement of the Westland Lynx, the Royal Netherlands Air Force fills the gap of the Lynx's amphibious task with Airbus AS-532U2 Cougar helicopters. The Cougar's main task is to support the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps on board of the LPD's and JSS. Other tasks are to provide Medical air transport to and from these ships, but also support SOF units in amphibious missions and trainings.
In 2012 an Apache attack helicopter from the Royal Netherlands Air Force made a deck landing on board HNLMS Rotterdam for the first time as part of an initial study into the possibilities for wider use of the helicopters as these will be upgraded to the AH-64E standard which has specific features for maritime operations.
The Dutch amphibious support ship HNLMS Johan de Witt and the HNLMS Karel Doorman JSS are designed to handle Royal Netherlands Air Force CH-47F Chinook helicopters but still require additional anti corrosion measures (part of the ongoing upgrade of the CH-47F).
|Defenture VECTOR||Netherlands||Multipurpose wheeled vehicle||75||Used by Netherlands Maritime Special Operations Forces.|
|Bv 206S||Sweden||Armoured personnel carrier||96||156 originally purchased. 96 vehicles have been given a mid-life update, the rest of the vehicles have been cannibalised, sold or disposed of.|
|BvS10||Sweden||Armoured personnel carrier||74||74 vehicles in use. 46 personnel carriers, 20 command vehicles, 4 recovery vehicles and 4 ambulances. The Vikings are part of the Armoured All Terrain Vehicle (AATV) Troops.|
|Bushmaster||Australia||Infantry mobility vehicle||20||Part of joint pool for foreign deployments.|
|Leopard 1 BARV|| Germany
|Beach armoured recovery vehicle||4||Recovery vehicle built on a Leopard 1 tank.|
|Land Rover Defender 110XD||United Kingdom||Off-road vehicle||140||Non-armoured vehicle, to be replaced by new armoured vehicles in 2023.|
|DMV Anaconda 4x4|| Italy
|Off-road vehicle||60||Non-armoured vehicle based on a Iveco Daily chassis, modified by Dutch Military Vehicles (DMV) for use by marines. 46 vehicles in use in the Dutch Caribbean, 14 vehicles in use with the Anti-Armour Troop.|
|DAF YAM 4442||Netherlands||Truck||Unknown||Phased replacement with new Scania trucks.|
|Scania R-series||Sweden||Palletized Load System||Unknown||Various versions in use.|
|Volkswagen Amarok||Germany||Off-road vehicle||194||Non-armoured vehicles, replacement of the Mercedes-Benz 290GD.|
|M6 C-640||Mortar||60mm mortar|
|Colt Canada C7NLD||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO|
|Colt Canada C8NLD||Carbine||5.56×45mm NATO|
|Heckler & Koch HK416||Carbine||5.56×45mm NATO|
|Glock 17M||Pistol||9×19mm Parabellum|
|FN MAG||General-purpose machine gun||7.62×51mm|
|M2HB-QCB||Heavy machine gun||.50 BMG|
|Accuracy International AWM||Sniper rifle||.338 Lapua Magnum|
|Barrett M82A1||Anti-materiel rifle||.50 BMG|
|FN P90||Personal defense weapon||FN 5.7x28mm|
|Mossberg M590A1||Shotgun||12 gauge|
|Panzerfaust 3||Anti-tank weapon|
In 2019 the fleet of the Royal Netherlands Navy consists of these ships:
|Walrus class||Submarine||4||1994||Multi-purpose diesel-electric powered hunter-killer submarines for deep ocean, brown water & special forces operations. SLEP 2015–2019, will be replaced by 4 new subs from 2028 or later.|
|De Zeven Provinciën class||Frigate||4||2002||Mainly anti-air warfare with BMD capability, ASW and with extensive command & communication facilities.|
|Karel Doorman class||Frigate||2||1994||8 initially built for the Royal Netherlands Navy, pairs of ships subsequently sold to the Belgian, Portuguese and Chilean navies. Belgian and Dutch M-Class frigates recently received extensive upgrades such as an extended helicopter deck and new advanced sensors and improvements in stealthiness. Will be replaced in 2028–29. Hr. Ms. Van Speijk temporarily suspended from active duty, and placed in reserve because of structural personnel shortage.|
|Holland class||Offshore patrol vessel||4||2011||Ocean patrols|
|Alkmaar class||Minehunter||5||1989||Originally a class of 15 ships, will be replaced starting 2025|
|Karel Doorman class||Joint logistic support ship||1||2014||Combined amphibious operations/seabased helicopter platform & fleet replenishing, capable of supporting CH-47/AH-64/NH-90 operations|
|Rotterdam & Johan de Witt class||Landing platform dock||2||1998/2007||Troop & equipment transport, helicopter platform with command & communication & hospital facilities.|
|Cerberus class||Diving support vessel||4||1992||Multi-purpose diving support vessels & harbour protection|
|Soemba class||Diving support vessel||1||1989||Multi-purpose diving support vessels & harbour protection|
|Pelikaan class||Multi-purpose logistic support vessel||1||2006||Multi-purpose logistic & amphibious support vessel based in Dutch Caribbean|
|Mercuur class||Submarine support vessel||1||1987||Submarine support vessel & MCM command, upgraded in 2017|
|Snellius class||Hydrographic survey vessel||2||2004||Multi-purpose hydrographic survey vessel|
|Damen StanPatrol 2005||Training & Patrol||3||2014||Multifunctional ships|
|Noordzee class||Coastal & Harbour Tug||3||2016||Damen ASD2810 Hybrid|
The total tonnage will be approx. 140,000 tonnes. Next to these ships a lot of other smaller vessels remain in the navy.
With these changes the Royal Netherlands Navy will have 10 large oceangoing vessels ranging from medium/low to high combat action ships. The renewed Dutch Navy will be a green-water navy, having enough frigates and auxiliaries to operate far out at sea, while depending on land-based air support, and, with the large amphibious squadron, they will have significant brown-water navy capabilities.
In April 2018, the Dutch Government approved a multi-year investment program and allocated funds for the 2018–2030 period, including;
Together with the United States and several other NATO members, the Dutch Navy is testing and updating its ships for Tactical ballistic missile defense capability. Although tests conducted concerning the capability of the APAR (Active Phased Array Radar) have been very successful, in 2018 the Dutch Government approved plans to acquire the SM-3 missiles for integration into the existing weapon suite of the LCF frigates. The four LCF ships will be fitted out with eight SM-3 missiles each (they are provisioned for this VLS extension) through Foreign Military Sales (under discussion between the US and The Netherlands).
Surviving historic ships
|NATO code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||OF(D)||Student officer|
| Royal Netherlands Navy
|Luitenant-Admiraal||Vice-Admiraal||Schout-bij-Nacht||Commandeur||Kapitein ter zee||Kapitein-luitenant ter zee||Luitenant ter zee der 1ste klasse||Luitenant ter zee der 2de klasse oudste categorie||Luitenant ter zee der 2de klasse||Luitenant ter zee der 3de klasse||Sergeant-Adelborst||Korporaal-Adelborst||Adelborst|
| Royal Netherlands Navy
Marinier der 1e klasse
Marinier der 2e klasse
Marinier der 3e klasse
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