Koninklijke Marine
Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN)

The RNLN is composed of escort ships, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, anti-submarine warfare helicopters, a mine countermeasures force, and a marine corps, as well as the necessary supporting elements. To protect the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba and the waters around them, the Navy has a frigate and a battalion of marines permanently stationed in the Caribbean. The Navy can also be deployed to help civil authorities enforce the law, respond to disasters or provide humanitarian assistance either in the Netherlands or abroad.

The Navy commands the operations of the Coastguard around the Netherlands and in the Caribbean. The Coastguard provides a rescue service, inspects fisheries and enforces the rules of the sea. The Navy cooperates closely with the navies of Belgium and the United Kingdom. And Dutch naval vessels are permanently attached to NATO's standing forces and fleet of minesweepers.

The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) is a many-sided service with an annual budget of 2,800 million Dutch guilders and a value added of 1,500 million Dutch guilders. The Royal Netherlands Navy durng the Cold War employed some 23,000 personnel during the 1980s; about one third were civilian. By 2004 the Navy'e tasks were carried out by around 11,000 military personnel (of whom over 3,000 belong to the Marine Corps) and some 4,000 civilian personnel. The sector employs approximately 18,000 people. It generates a back-flow of 635 million Dutch guilders, consisting of the social contributions of employees, income tax and value added tax (VAT), among other things.

Main Points from the 2005 Budget were that Navy airbase De Kooy by Den Helder would be closed, unless the business community is prepared to contribute more to its operation. The navy will drop the development of corvettes, as the existing frigates were in a good position to carry out all tasks, including those in coastal waters. The navy will also drop the construction of a helicopter carrier vessel. Minister Kamp will decide in 2006 on ordering conventional Tomahawk cruise missiles for the four modern air defence and commando frigates (LCF).

Defense was hard hit by the austerity measures that Minister Hans Hillen published 08 April 2011. One of the two supply vessels will be divested. Hr. Ms. Zuiderkruis would be taken out of service in late 2011 after the planned deployment in the EU operation Atalanta. Hr. Ms. Amsterdam remained in service until 2014, then to be replaced by the Joint Support Ship.

The frigates, the amphibious transport ship and the supply ships together form the main Task Group, the backbone of the fleet. Its tasks include safeguarding international trade routes at sea, enforcing embargoes, protecting sea transport and protecting coastal areas. The Task Group thus contributes directly and indirectly to land operations.

Naval ships seldom operate alone, but are usually part of a maritime task group. The composition of a task group depends on the circumstances and is attuned to the nature of the task and the threat. A task group consists of frigates (including helicopters) and a supply ship. Depending on the mission, it can be supplemented with amphibious units, submarines, minehunters and a hydrographic survey vessel.

As of 2001 the bulk of the RNlN was grouped in two balanced and integrated task forces, each with two air defense frigates (Tromp or Jacob Van Heemskerck class), four Karel Doorman class frigates, one AOR, two submarines, ten helicopters, and several MPA. Operationally, the Netherlands and Belgium have combined their fleets under the operational command of Admiral Benelux (ABNL), headquartered in Den Helder, Netherlands.

The operational units of the navy can carry out independent missions anywhere in the world, over long periods of time. This is called expeditionary action. Independent means that logistically the units are entirely self-sufficient in the areas in which they operate. For both the naval ships and the units of the Marine Corps, the expeditionary capability has always played an important role.

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