Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance.
This year, troops from the Netherlands arrived in Lithuania to participate in a German-led battalion that is part of a broader NATO effort to bolster defenses near Russia; similar battalions are deploying in Poland, Latvia and Estonia. The deployment coincides with rising support within the Netherlands to increase defense spending, which was scaled back during the first half of this decade. Both developments reflect the realization, in the Netherlands and across Europe, that European militaries need to ramp up efforts to defend against the threat posed by Russia, especially in light of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. In an email interview, Dick Zandee, senior research fellow at the Clingendael Institute, describes the traditional role of the Netherlands within NATO as well as efforts to boost the country’s defense preparedness.
WPR: What has been the traditional role of the Netherlands in NATO, how has this role evolved in recent years, and in which missions has the country participated?