Royal Netherlands Navy

Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy
Koninklijke Marine
Naval Jack of the Netherlands.svg
Royal Netherlands Navy jack
Founded 1488
Country  Netherlands
Allegiance HM The Queen
Size 10,000 personnel

6 Destroyers
10 Minehunters
3 Support ships
2 Landing platform docks
4 Submarines

40 Other ships

4 Patrol boats under construction

1 Support ship on order

21 Helicopters + 20 on order

Part of Ministry of Defence
Headquarters Den Helder
Engagements Eighty Years' War
Dutch-Portuguese War
Anglo-Dutch Wars
War of Spanish Succession
War of the Quadruple Alliance
World War II
Commandant Zeestrijdkrachten Vice Admiral Matthieu Borsboom
Generaal Majoor der Mariniers Major general of the Marines Ton van Ede
Michiel de Ruyter, Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp, Jan van Speyk, Karel Doorman

The Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy) is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In recent times the Royal Netherlands Navy takes part in expeditionary peacekeeping and peace enforcing operations.



The main naval base is Den Helder, Noord Holland. Secondary naval bases are in Amsterdam, Vlissingen, Texel and Willemstad (Curaçao). Marine barracks are in Rotterdam, Doorn, Suffisant on Curaçao, and Savaneta on Aruba.

Service academy

The Royal Netherlands Naval College is the service academy of the Royal Netherlands Navy.


Dutch Golden Age

The Dutch navy has a long history. It was involved in many wars against other European powers since 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 and the United Kingdom. In the middle of the 17th century the Dutch navy was the most powerful navy in the world.[1]

World War II

The HNLMS Java in c. 1941
Elements of the Royal Netherlands Navy on manoeuvres, 1936

During the Second World War, the Dutch navy was based in Allied countries after the Netherlands were conquered by Nazi Germany in a matter of days: the Dutch navy had its headquarters in London and smaller dependencies in Sri Lanka and Australia.

Around the world Dutch naval units were responsible for troop transport, for example during Operation Dynamo in Dunkirk and D-Day, they escorted convoys and attacked enemy targets. During the war the navy suffered heavy losses, especially in defending the Dutch East Indies, most notably the Battle of the Java Sea in which the commander, Dutchman Karel Doorman, went down with his ships together with 1000 of his crew.

During the relentless Japanese campaign of February and March 1942 in the Netherlands East Indies, the Dutch navy in Asia was virtually annihilated and sustained losses of a total of 20 ships [including its only two light cruisers) and 2500 men killed[2] - as much as the Americans at Pearl Harbor. The Dutch navy suffered from years of under-funding and came ill-prepared to face a technically and organizationally extremely well prepared, powerful and dedicated enemy, that also brought more and heavier ships with better weapons into battle, among others the Long Lance-torpedo, with which the cruiser Haguro downed the light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter. This vessel was in no way a match for Haguro.[3]. A small force of submarines sank more Japanese ships in the first weeks of the war than the entire British and US navies together, an exploit which earned Admiral Helfrich the nickname "Ship-a-day Helfrich".[4] Later in the war, a few Dutch submarines scored some remarkable hits, including one German submarine in the Mediterranean.

After the war, the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies changed dramatically. The establishment of the Republic of Indonesia, 2 days after the Japanese surrender, thwarted the Dutch plans for restoring colonial authority. It took 4 years of war before the Netherlands acknowledged the independence of Indonesia. The Dutch navy was stationed in Papua until it was turned over to the Indonesians in 1962, because the action from the Military of Indonesia, supported by the modern military equipments from Soviet Union, as the order of President Sukarno to integrate it into as one of Indonesian provinces.

NATO cooperation

The Standing NRF Maritime Group 1 in 2007 with the HNLMS Evertsen second from the right

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 (1950-1953) that the navy got more recognition. The government allowed the creation of a balanced fleet consisting of 2 naval squadrons. Apart from the aircraft carrier Hr. Ms. Karel Doorman the Dutch navy consisted of 2 cruisers (2 De Zeven Provinciën class), 12 destroyers (4 Holland class, 8 Friesland class), 8 submarines, 6 frigates (van Speijk class frigates) and a large number of minesweepers.

As a NATO member 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. From 1965 onwards the Netherlands joined certain permanent NATO squadrons like the Standing Naval Force Atlantic.

Current structure

The constituent parts of the Royal Netherlands Navy are:

Naval squadron

Contains all surface combatants, replenishment ships and amphibious support ships.

Submarine service

Contains the submarines and a support vessel.

Mine Detection and Clearing Service

Contains various minehunters.

Hydrographical Survey

Contains ships which map the oceans.

Naval Air Service

  • 2 helicopter squadrons

Netherlands Marine Corps

  • 1 Brigade (MTC: Mariniers Training Commando (formerly known as GOEM: Groep Operationele Eenheden Mariniers) consisting of 4 battalions
    • 2 Operational Marine Battalions (MARNSBAT1,2)
    • 1 Amphibious combat support battalion (AMFGEVSTBAT)
    • 1 Amphibious Logistical battalion (AMFLOGBAT)
  • 1 rifle company (32 Infcoy) is permanently stationed at Aruba

Coast Guard

Although the Coast Guard is not an official part of the Navy, it is under its operational control. Also the Netherlands Antilles & Aruba 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:

Note: in the Royal Netherlands Navy frigates are interchangeable with destroyers as there is no separate class
Type ship Defensenote 1974 Defensenote 1984 Priority Document 1993 Marine study 2005 Economize 2011
LC frigates 4 4
M frigates 4 [5] 8 [6] 8 2 2
GW frigates 2 2 2
L frigates 1 [7] 2 2
S frigates 12 10 6
MLM frigates [8] 6
Frigates 25 22 18 6 6
Patrolships 4 4
Submarine 6 6 4 4 4
Supply ships 2 2 2 1
ATS 1 2 2
JSS 1 1
Minehunters 15 15 15 10 6
Minesweepers 11 11 [9]
Total ships 59 56 40 28 21
LRMP Aircraft 21 13 [10] 13
Helicopters 36 [11] 30 [12] 20 20 20
Total aircraft 57 43 33 20 20

List of the Dutch Navy Fleet

* The Dutch Royal Navy classifies the De Zeven Provinciën as frigates, but internationally they are most comparable to destroyers (due to their size and weapon capability) platform for Sea Based Anti-Ballistics Missile defence

The constituent Equipment of the Royal Netherlands Navy are:

Surface combatants

Amphibious assault ships

  • 2 landing platform dock (LPD) / Amphibious Transport Ships
    • HNLMS Rotterdam (L800)
    • HNLMS Johan de Witt (L801)


  • 4 S802 Walrus class Diesel/electric attack submarines. (currently being upgraded for operations well into the 21st Century)
    • HNLMS Walrus (S802)
    • HNLMS Zeeleeuw (S803)
    • HNLMS Dolfijn (S808)
    • HNLMS Bruinvis (S810)

Mine detection and clearing ships

  • 10 Tripartite (Alkmaar class) mine hunters
    • HNLMS Haarlem (M853) (out of commission sept 2011)
    • HNLMS Maasluis (M856) (out of commission sept 2011)
    • HNLMS Makkum (M857)
    • HNLMS Middelburg (M858) (out of commission sept 2011)
    • HNLMS Hellevoetsluis (M859) (out of commission sept 2011)
    • HNLMS Schiedam (M860)
    • HNLMS Urk (M861)
    • HNLMS Zierikzee (M862)
    • HNLMS Vlaardingen (M863)
    • HNLMS Willemstad (M862)

  • 4 A851 Cerberus class diving support vessels.
    • HNLMS Cerberus (A851)
    • HNLMS Argus (A852)
    • HNLMS Nautilus (A853)
    • HNLMS Hydra (A854)

Support ships

  • 1 A900 Mercuur class Torpedo recovery ship
    • HNLMS Mercuur (A900)
  • 1 A804 Pelikaan logistic support vessel for the Netherlands Antilles (amphibious & diving operations and transport)
    • HNLMS Pelikaan (A804)

Hydrographical survey ships

  • 2 A802 Snellius class hydrographical survey ship.
    • HNLMS Snellius (A802)
    • HNLMS Luymes (A803)

Training ships

  • 1 A902 Van Kinsbergen class training ship
    • MOV Van Kinsbergen (A902)
  • 1 Y8050 Urania class sailing naval training vessel
    • HNLMS Urania (Y8050)

Landingcraft (Marine Corps)

  • 5 L9525 LCU Mk2 class landing craft utility
    • L9525
    • L9526
    • L9527
    • L9528
    • L9529

All ships of the L9525 LCU class have been upgraded to Mk2. This upgrade meant enlarging the vessels and increasing their payload (enabling the craft to transport the Royal Netherlands Army's Leopard 2 A6).

  • 12 LCVP Mk5c class landing craft vehicle personnel built by Visser Shipyard in Den Helder in 2009-2010
    • L95XX
  • 17 Fast Raiding, Interception and Special Forces Craft for use as small landing crafts. To be replaced by the new FRISC's.
  • 6 L9536 LCVP Mk3 class landing craft vehicle personnel
    • L9536 (out of commission Jan 2010)
    • L9537
    • L9538
    • L9539 (out of commission Jan 2010)
    • L9540
    • L9541
  • 6 L9530 LCVP Mk2 class landing craft vehicle personnel
    • L9530
    • L9531
    • L9532
    • L9533
    • L9534
    • L9535

Other ships

  • 5 A874 Linge class large tugs.
    • HNLMS Linge (A874)
    • HNLMS Regge (A875)
    • HNLMS Hunze (A876)
    • HNLMS Rotte (A877)
    • HNLMS Gouwe (A878)
  • 2 Y8018 Breezand class harbor tugs
    • HNLMS Breezand (Y8018)
    • HNLMS Bergzand (Y8019
  • 5 Y8055 Schelde class harbor working boats
    • HNLMS Schelde (Y8055)
    • HNLMS Wierbalg (Y8055)
    • HNLMS Malzwin (Y8055)
    • HNLMS Zuidwal (Y8055)
    • HNLMS Westwal (Y8055)
  • 1 Y8536 Patria class inshore tanker
    • HNLMS Patia (Y8536)
  • 1 Y8005 Nieuwediep class touring boat
    • HNLMS Nieuwediep (Y8005)
  • 2 Y8200 harbor vessels
    • Y8200
    • Y8300
  • 1 WM1-9002 Jonge Jan class harbor vessel
    • Jonge Jan (WM1-9002)
  • 1 WM1-9003 Jonge Prins 3 class harbor vessel
    • Jonge Prins 3 (WM1-9003)
  • 3 patrol cutters for the Netherlands Antilles (NAACGC Jaguar P810, NAACGC Panter P811 and NAACGC Poema P812)
  • 46 Fast Raiding, Interception and Special Forces Craft, 11 for Special Operation use, 17 to replace the old FRISC's of the Dutch Marines, 12 for use in the Dutch territories in the Caribbean and 6 to use in combination with the new Holland Class OPV's

Maritime helicopters

  • 21 SH-14D Lynx (Only 10 still operational thanks to life-prolonging maintenance. This was necessary due to delivery delays of the NH-90. One is currently held by Libyan pro-Qadhafi forces after a failed attempt to rescue two people from Libya on February 27, 2011.) While carrying Koninklijke Marine titles, they actually belong to the Defensie Helikopter Commando (DHC), or Defence Helicopter Command, since July 4, 2008.
  • 20 NH-90 12 NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) and 8 transport version of the NATO Frigate Helicopter (TNFH) (Being introduced until the end of 2015)

Armored vehicles (Marine Corps)

  • 156 BV206S armored all-terrain personnel carriers(127 will get a Mid-Life Update, the rest will be disposed of or sold)
  • 74 BVS10 armored all-terrain personnel carriers
  • 20 XA-188 wheeled armored personnel carriers(11 to be sold to Estonia, the rest will be disposed of or sold)
  • 4 Leopard 1 BARV beach armored recovery vehicles

Unarmored vehicles (Marine Corps)

Artillery (Marine Corps)

  • RT-120 (Habé Rayé) 120mm mortars
  • L16A2 81mm mortar
  • Brandt MO-60-V - 60mm Commando mortar

Personal weapons

2012 future naval inventory

In 2012 the new fleet plan of the Royal Netherlands Navy will be completed, consisting of these ships:

Class Type Number Dates Details
De Zeven Provinciën Frigate 4 2002 Mainly Anti-Air Warfare with ABM capability, ASW and with extensive Command & Communication Facilities
Karel Doorman class Frigate 2 1994 Multipurpose tasks
Holland Class Offshore Patrol Vessel 4 2011 Ocean patrols
Alkmaar class Minehunter 10 1989 Minehunting/Minesweeping (combined)
Amsterdam class Replenishment 1 1995 Fleet support/replenishing
Zuiderkruis class JSS Joint Support Ship 1 2014 Combined Amphibious Operations/Seabased Helicopter Platform & Fleet Support/Replenishing
Rotterdam class Landing Platform Dock 2 1998/2007 Troop & Equipment Transport, Helicopter Platform with Command & Communication & Hospital Facilities
Walrus class Submarine 4 1994 MultiPurpose Diesel-electric powered hunter-killer submarines for Deep Ocean Operations and Brown Water & Special Force Operations

The total tonnage will be approx. 140.000 t. Next to these ships a lot of other smaller vessels remain in the navy like the Snellius class hydrographical survey vessels.

With these changes the Royal Netherlands Navy will have 10 large ocean going 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.

Future changes

  • Purchase of 4 Large Offshore Patrol Vessels Holland Class. The Dutch Ministry of Defence announced recently that these vessels will enter service a year later than planned.
  • Extensive upgrading of the 2 remaining F827 Karel Doorman class, new SEWACO systems and lay-out of the ships. After these upgrades the ships can last till 2020–2025
  • Purchase of 20 NH-90 helicopters to replace the Lynx helicopters currently in use and integration of all maritime helicopter into the Dutch Defense Helicopter Command
  • Purchase New joint support ship Zuiderkruis class JSS. The Dutch Ministry of Defence announced recently that this vessel will enter service in 2015 and be able to combine sea replenishment capabilities with the ability to act as a sea based platform in support of amphibious operations (incl. CH-47 & AH-64 Helicopters).
  • Extensive upgrading for Walrus class Submarines including new Sonar, weapons upgrades and probably AIP system for near shore operations.
  • Upgrading the Zeven Provinciën class LCF frigates Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense and considered SLCM integration.
  • Increasing the size of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. Currently, several units of the Marine Corps are being reorganized.

Theater Ballistic Missile Defense

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, no decision has been made by the Dutch Government in purchasing SM-3 missiles - mainly because the SM-3 is not operational yet. Four ships are being fitted out for Tactical ballistic Missile Defense. If purchased (after US export approval) the four LCFs will be fitted out with only eight SM-3 missiles each, due to the high costs for each missile (approximately $2.5 - $5 million).

Decommissioned ships

Historic ships


See also


  1. ^ Royal Netherlands Navy Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Klemen, L (1999-2000). "The War at Sea". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. 
  3. ^ Dr. L. de Jong, 'Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog' (Dutch), 14 parts, part 11a-I-second half, RIOD, Amsterdam, 1975
  4. ^ TIME, Monday, Feb. 23, 1942 (February 23, 1942). "World Battlefronts: Dutchman's Chance". Time.,9171,884450,00.html. 
  5. ^ De M-fregatten werden voor het eerst genoemd bij de Memorie van Toelichting bij de defensiebegroting van 1977.
  6. ^ In de defensienota 1984 ging het om een groter type M-fregat dan in de MVT 1977 nog sprake was.
  7. ^ Het Aangepast Standaardfregat, zoals genoemd in de Defensienota van 1974 was een iets groter schip dan de uiteindelijk gebouwde L-fregatten
  8. ^ Gemoderniseerde Van Speijkklasse
  9. ^ Gepland was tevens de aanschaf van 2 oceaanmijnenvegers, maar een jaar later was dit plan al geschrapt. Gepland was voorts de vervanging van de Dokkumklasse mijnenvegers vanaf 1988, met een nader te bepalen aantal van minimaal 6 en maximaal 15 mijnenvegers.
  10. ^ Aanvankelijk werd de aanschaf van 2 extra Orion P-3 vliegtuigen overwogen, maar een jaar later waren deze plannen al geschrapt.
  11. ^ Er is later zelfs nog aan 40 helikopters gedacht.
  12. ^ Gepland was de aanschaf van 8 grote helikopters, als aanvulling op de 22 (2 waren al verloren gegaan) Lynx helikopters van de MLD.

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