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Ministry of Defence
Ministerie van Defensie
Logo of the Ministry of Defence
Coat of arms of the Netherlands

Ministry of Defence
Department overview
FormedNovember 29, 1813; 207 years ago (1813-11-29)
JurisdictionKingdom of the Netherlands
HeadquartersPlein 4, The Hague, Netherlands
Employees44,302 active duty
3,339 reserve forces
3,000 paramilitary
18,000 civilian staff[1]
Annual budget€10,5 billion (2018)[2]
Minister responsible
Department executives
Child agencies

The Ministry of Defence (Dutch: Ministerie van Defensie; MinDef) is the Dutch Ministry responsible for the armed forces of the Netherlands and Veterans Affairs. The Ministry was created in 1813 as the "Ministry of War" and in 1928 was combined with the "Ministry of the Navy". After World War II in the ministries were separated again, in this period the Minister of War and Minister of the Navy were often the same person and the State secretary for the Navy was responsible for daily affairs of the Royal Dutch Navy. In 1959 the ministries were merged. The Ministry is headed by the Minister of Defence, currently Ank Bijleveld,[3][4] assisted by a State secretary (Barbara Visser) and the Chief of the Defence of the Netherlands, Onno Eichelsheim since April 2021.


The ministry has the responsibility for:


The ministry consists of the Minister (Ank Bijleveld) and the State secretary of Defence (Barbara Visser), the so-called Central Staff, the Netherlands Armed Forces and two supporting organisations.

The Central Staff of the ministry is led by the Secretary-General, the highest civil servant. The most important elements of the Central Staff are:

The highest military official is the Chief of Defence (Dutch: Commandant der Strijdkrachten). He is a four-star general or admiral and controls the branches of the armed forces, which are organised in three operational commands:

The fourth branch of service, the Royal Netherlands Constabulary, falls directly under the Secretary-General.

The armed forces are supported by two civil organisations that reside under the Ministry of Defence:

The ministry employs over 70,000 civil and military personnel.

See also


  1. ^ (in Dutch) Minister belooft compensatie loonderving militairen, RTL, January 23, 2012
  2. ^ (in Dutch) [
  3. ^ "Dijkhoff voor even minister van Defensie" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Omroep Stichting.
  4. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Dutch defense minister resigns over peacekeepers' deaths in Mali".