The Dutch have a long military history that dates back to the 17th century. They became one of the world’s major maritime powers and established settlements around the globe. The Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815 after a period of occupation by France had ended. Unfortunately, occupation came again in World War II. Although they fought valiantly when invaded by Nazi forces in 1940, the small nation was overrun. Dutch possessions in the Pacific were later attacked and occupied by Japanese forces. Although their homelands were occupied, the Dutch were not defeated. Free Netherlands forces in exile continued to fight the Axis powers, and underground resistance fighters fought against their occupiers.

When victory and freedom were achieved in 1945, the Netherlands resolved to maintain a well-organized, trained and equipped defense force. As part of this commitment to peace and security, the Netherlands became one of the founding member nations of NATO and later, the European Union. As a modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is a key global partner in the effort to foster and maintain security.

GLOCK Armed Forces

In common with most nations, the armed forces of the Netherlands are organized into different service branches. These include the Netherlands Army, Navy, Air Force and Military Police. There is also a Netherlands Marine Corps and Coast Guard, which are subdivisions of the Netherlands Navy. GLOCK pistols are used as the standard sidearm of all of these forces. The GLOCK 17 pistol chambered for the 9×19 cartridge was selected in order to meet NATO ammunition standardization specifications.

Captain Jørgen Geers, a spokesperson for the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, related the procurement history of the GLOCK pistol: “The GLOCK was placed into service in 1987 on a small scale. At that time, they were issued to the Royal Netherlands Military Police. Later, a project was started to replace all pistols throughout the armed forces. In 1993, the GLOCK was procured and issued to all branches. Over the years, different versions of the GLOCK have been added. Now we have the standard GLOCK 17, but also the maritime version, which can be used after emerging from the water. For training purposes, we acquired the GLOCK 17T Training pistol. It is a blue-colored version used in combination with special ammunition of limited power and a plastic bullet filled with a liquid dye. When personnel wear special protective clothing, it is safe to conduct realistic training.”

Captain Geers went on to detail some of the attributes of the GLOCK pistols in service in the Netherlands. “After being introduced, our personnel came to see the benefits of the GLOCK. It’s a strong, lightweight, easy-to-maintain pistol. Also, the total life cycle costs are lower because of the low price of spare parts and because less spare parts are needed.”

Since first entering the inventory and to this present day, GLOCK pistols have served with Dutch forces around the world in every imaginable climate. At present, GLOCK pistols are on-duty with Dutch forces on deployments both in the Netherlands and abroad for crisis management operations, humanitarian assistance and combat operations. In Afghanistan, the Dutch contingent of the International Security Assistance Force is supporting the Afghan government in maintaining security and combating terrorists. In addition, military personnel are involved in the reconstruction of the country. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dutch peacekeepers assigned to the European Union Force are working to prevent the former warring parties from engaging in conflict again and to monitor the observance of the Dayton Peace Accord. As part of anti-piracy operations off of Somalia, various ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy are deployed. The missions are Operation Atlanta (European Union) and Operation Ocean Shield (NATO). The naval presence is used to increase security of the shipping routes near Somalia by discouraging and disrupting acts of piracy.

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