Nethers Military - 2023


Military and security forces

Netherlands (Dutch) Armed Forces (Nederlandse Krijgsmacht): Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands Navy (includes Marine Corps), Royal Netherlands Air Force, Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Military Constabulary) (2023)

note 1: the Netherlands Coast Guard and the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard are civilian in nature but managed by the Royal Netherlands Navy

note 2: the national police maintain internal security in the Netherlands and report to the Ministry of Justice and Security, which oversees law enforcement organizations, as do the justice ministries in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten

Military expenditures

1.7% of GDP (2023 est.)

1.6% of GDP (2022 est.)

1.4% of GDP (2021)

1.4% of GDP (2020)

1.3% of GDP (2019)

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 48,000 active-duty personnel (20,000 Army; 9,000 Navy; 7,000 Air Force; 7,000 Constabulary; 5,000 other) (2023)

note: the total figures include about 6,500 reservists on active duty; the Navy has about 2,300 marines

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory consists of a mix of domestically produced and modern European- and US-sourced equipment; in recent years, the US has been the leading supplier of weapons systems; the Netherlands has an advanced domestic defense industry that focuses on armored vehicles, naval ships, and air defense systems; it also participates with the US and other European countries on joint development and production of advanced weapons systems (2023)

Military service age and obligation

17 years of age for voluntary service for men and women; the military is an all-volunteer force; conscription remains in place, but the requirement to show up for compulsory military service was suspended in 1997; must be a citizen of the Netherlands (2023)

note: in 2023, women made up about 14% of the military's full-time personnel

Military deployments

350 Lithuania (NATO); 200 Romania (NATO) (2023)

note: in response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, some NATO countries, including the Netherlands, have sent additional troops and equipment to the battlegroups deployed in NATO territory in eastern Europe

Military - note

the Netherlands is a member of NATO and was one of the original 12 countries to sign the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty) in 1949

since 1973, the Dutch Marine Corps has worked closely with the British Royal Marines, including jointly in the UK-Netherlands amphibious landing force; the Dutch Army cooperates closely with the German Army, including integrated units 

in 2020, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands formed a joint Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC); in 2015, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg signed an agreement to conduct joint air policing of their territories; under the agreement, which went into effect in January of 2017, the Belgian and Dutch Air Forces trade responsibility for patrolling the skies over the three countries (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Nethers on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Nethers 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Nethers 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.