Atlantic Sentinel: Netherlands Contemplate Huge Defense Cuts


Categorie: Atlantic Sentinel, Europe, Nick Ottens, The Netherlands |

Hans Hillen

Hans Hillen. Via Atlantic Sentinel.


The Dutch Government is reportedly contemplating huge cuts in defense spending. As part of a total €18 billion worth of austerity measures, the liberal-conservative coalition has planned some €1 billion in budget cuts to the defense department which could force the resignation of up to ten thousand service personnel.

While the government won’t announce its full plans until Friday, public broadcaster NOS reported on Wednesday that as part of the austerity operation, the Dutch military might have to give up all of its tanks, four out of ten minesweepers as well as its seventeen Eurocopter AS532 Cougar helicopters which were scheduled for an upgrade two years ago.

Dutch armed forces currently operate eighty-two Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks and recently acquired nearly two hundred Swedish Stridsfordon 90 infantry fighting vehicles. It wasn’t clear whether the latter would be scrapped as well.

Five Alkmaar class minesweepers were previously sold to Latvia while the Cougar was already slated for replacement with twenty NHI NH90s. The European built helicopter has proven too heavy for use in combination with Dutch frigates however.

Defense Minister Hans Hillen is further set to cut deeply in supportive services which altogether would make it nigh impossible for the Netherlands to single handedly mount a Orūzgān scale operation in the future.

Nearly two thousand Dutch soldiers were stationed in the Afghan province between 2006 and 2010 as part of the International Security Assistance Force. Two months ago, the Dutch legislature approved another Afghanistan mission to support the training of Afghan policemen.

Because of the involvement in Afghanistan, the Netherlands raised defense spending in recent years, from €7.7 billion in 2007 to €8.5 billion in 2009.

Originally published at Atlantic Sentinel.


8 Responses to “Atlantic Sentinel: Netherlands Contemplate Huge Defense Cuts”

  1. Marcase says:

    The NH-90 was too heavy for the two remaining M-type frigates, but these have, or soon will be, strengthened (as have the two M-types sold to Belgium) – unless they too are slated for decommissioning as well.

    Further navy cuts include one or both replenishment ships (to be replaced by one new JSS type), possibly two brand new corvettes and a company of marines.

    The CV9035 will be the main armored combat vehicle; some of the PzH2000NL howitzers will be sold off as well. The sale of the Leopard 2A6s will also mean selling heavy bridging and support vehicles.

    In short, anyone looking to upgrade their army with relatively new, and certainly modern kit should give the Dutch a call…

  2. Onslo says:

    For years the Left have tried to abolish the armed forced and spend all the money on development aid.
    Ironically currently there is a Right government.

  3. AT0MIKFR0 says:

    Wow! This is terrific news! Glad to see some sense out of the government. The Cold War is over, there is no need to spend ourselves into penury maintaining this sort of armed forces.

  4. SM says:

    The Dutch already sold off about half their Leopard II fleet to Canada in 2007. It will be interesting if the Dutch do decide they don’t need tanks any more, but sometimes these announcements are intended to look big and outrage people against cuts.

  5. Paralus says:

    It is an interesting concept. Preventing your country from ever engaging in the use of military force by dismantling your military to the point it is unable to intervene.

    Another pukey liberal-conservative alliance willing to sacrifice national defense.

    Two of our closest allies, UK and the Netherlands, are at the forefront of turning NATO into something almost completely irrelevant.

    NATO is like the kid brother who tags along with his brother to the ball game and insists he’s big enough to play with the big boys, but isn’t fast enough to elude anyone, too weak to stop anyone and not tough enough to play for very long.

  6. Petra says:

    Simply not true.
    They sell it to the public as budget cuts where in fact they r preparing for renewal of the air striker fleet.
    Joint Strike Fighters will be bought by this goverment as well as other hight tech goodies.
    To ask huge cuts from all Dutch and highten the defence budget isnt realistic politically.
    So they thought of this strategic move.
    We change/re-organize the Dutch army for the 21st century. We dont need 20century tanks, nor personnel heavy duties. We do our bit internationally, but only in the high end warfare.
    Great move Holland!

  7. Paralus says:

    “We don’t need 20century tanks, nor personnel heavy duties. We do our bit internationally, but only in the high end warfare.”

    Sure, the Leopard IIs are 20th century, but that doesn’t mean you dispose of them because you assume you won’t need them.

    Did the Dutch gov’t hire psychics to foresee what modern warfare is going to look like? Will it only need light infantry units and F-35s?

    The Netherlands is a partner in NATO, but if something broke out in Eastern Europe, would the Netherlands be able to respond with anything besides air power and a couple of battalions. Not bloody likely.

    What kind of an Alliance is it when the Allies are unable to offer anything more than piece-meal support?

    I could understand if there was a political change and the suddenly the world was safer and more stable, but a temporary economic downturn is not an acceptable reason to gut a nation’s forces.

  8. Toni says:

    This is one of the craziest moves that European countries have done in recent years. As we can see right now the NATO is unable to get rid of Gadaffi and stop a poor african army. How will be NATO face a serious crisis in the near future if all European countries behave like you? What is gonna happen if the USA turn his back and look to the other way and leave the EU alone, as it has done in Libya? Who is going to save us? You are not only scrapping your tanks, besides as recent wars have showed they still have to much to say in the modern battlefield, is not just the tanks, you are even getting rid of your fleet, leaving only 4 frigates and maybe 2 corvettes, The Netherlands!!! live to see. Is just crazy. Is this the way to create a EU defense policy? Are we just sending NGO and aid and pray to don’t get in a “ugly” war?

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