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08 Jan 2024

Royal Netherlands Navy Celebrates 536th Anniversary

Royal Netherlands Navy Celebrates 536th Anniversary
Source: Royal Netherlands Navy

The Royal Netherlands Navy was founded on January 8th, 1488. The 'Ordinance on the Admirality' was issued by Maximilian of Austria. 

Short History (translated from the Royal Netherlands Navy website) 

17th and 18th centuries
The navy mainly operated in European waters. It defended the independence of the Republic. And protected the fishing fleet and trading fleet against pirates and attacks by enemy ships. Since then, the tasks of the Dutch navy have continued to adapt to the (inter)national security situation.

19th and 20th centuries

Most of the Royal Navy was active in the Dutch East Indies. This changed after the Dutch East Indies became independent in 1949. The navy also left Dutch New Guinea in 1962. As a result of previous international cooperation, the armed forces continued to collaborate in a NATO context after the Second World War. NATO squadrons secured shipping lanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Together the fleet fought against the submarine threat from the Warsaw Pact countries.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Warsaw Pact came to an end in 1991. This removed the military threat from Eastern European communist countries aimed at Western capitalist countries. The Dutch government reconsidered what the role of the armed forces should be.

The main tasks were:

  • defending the Netherlands, including the Caribbean. And of the countries that are allies;
  • protecting the international legal order;
  • supporting civil authorities, within and outside the Netherlands. For example, through assistance with disaster relief, peacekeeping and community development work.

Marine works worldwide
The Royal Navy also adapted to these tasks. Navy ships can transport and deploy military personnel and equipment worldwide. Because 90% of all countries in the world border the sea, the navy can approach almost any area of ​​operations unhindered. No permission is required from other countries to use the open seas. Navy ships therefore also serve as floating bases for helicopters and landing craft. They are also ideally suited as a logistics support point and as a communication center.

The Netherlands Royal Navy

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