The article was first published at Tomsk State University Journal, 2015, 395, 123–131. DOI: 10.17223/15617793/395/20.

Please follow the summary of the article.


Smolenchuk Olga Yu. Tomsk State University (Tomsk, Russian Federation). E-mail:

Keywords: Netherlands; Dutch foreign policy; peacekeeping operations; peace support operations.

The article examines the peacekeeping activity of the Netherlands in the United Nations from 1945 to 1992. The main features of four periods in the establishment of the Dutch peacekeeping are reviewed, and two independent variables are outlined: 1) the relationships between the government and the parliament of the Netherlands; 2) public opinion on the participation of the Dutch armed forces in peacekeeping. Dutch researchers identify four periods in the Dutch peacekeeping after the Second World War, each of which has its own characteristics. During the first (1945–1958), called “UN member against its will and the Korean War”, the Dutch pursued a reasonable policy to solve questions in the deployment of the Dutch armed forces. The government relied upon the broad support of the Dutch society that overreacted to the military actions, revealing liberal and humanistic features of behavior. Among the main aspects of the 1958–1978 period, outlined in the literature as the “standby position” or “containment position for the UN”, it is necessary to consider the personal preferences of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Luns and the Atlanticism policy that he conducted. That political behavior was connected with the issue of using the Dutch armed forces in case of the Soviet threat for the UN. The third period (1979–1989), “UNIFIL: downtime and lessons”, is related to the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and the Netherlands’ consent to participate in it, despite the fact that the mandate of this mission was not clearly defined. One of the main results was that the Dutch government agreed to have compulsory consultations with the parliament before the dispatch of the Dutch armed forces. The second was that soldiers were to give voluntary consent for their participation in peacekeeping. Many changes in the system of international relations took place in the late 1980s that had an impact on the new period of Dutch peacekeeping named “new priorities”. International challenges occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s that produced changes in public opinion; over time, public support of the army had decreased. The researchers suggest that cuts in the Netherlands budget caused a differentiation of the policies of the government and its arrangement of priorities and aims. To sum up, the most important results of consideration of the evolution of the Dutch peacekeeping during the period from 1945 to 1992 for the Netherlands was to maintain its international prestige and influence, and its position as a “strong player” in UN peacekeeping activities. By the late 1980s and early 1990s the “preliminary consultations” rule between the government and parliament in decision-making on the deployment of armed forces in different countries was established. During this time, the transition from the conscription army to the contract one would have provided more flexible mobilization of soldiers’ preparation for peacekeeping missions. But one of the main features of the Dutch peacekeeping was that the Netherlands, based on the foreign policy traditions, always tended to harmonize hostile parties. Throughout all considered periods, the participation of the Netherlands in peace support operations found relevant public support, the main feature of which is the constant search for consensus as a result of mutual actions and negotiations.


  1. Baehr P. The Netherlands and the United Nations: The future lies in the Past. In: Alger Ch.F, Lyons G.M., Trent J.E. (eds.). The UN System: The Policies of the Member States. Tokio: United Nations University, 1995.
  2. Klep C., van Gils R. Van Korea tot Kosovo: De Nederlandse militaire deelname aan vredesoperaties sinds 1945. Den Haag: Sduuitgevers, 1999.
  3. Hellema D.A. Dutch Foreign Politics. The role of the Netherlands in World Politics. Dordrecht, 2009.
  4. Shatokhina-Mordvintseva G.A. Istoriya Niderlandov [The history of the Netherlands]. Moscow: Drofa Publ., 2007. 515 p.
  5. Siekmann R.C.R. Netherlands Participation in United Nations Peace-keeping Operations. In: Baehr P.R., Castermans-Holleman M.C. (eds.) The Netherlands and the United Nations: selected issues. T.M.C.Asser Instituut: The Hague, 1990.
  6. Van Baal A.P.P.M. Preparation and Training for Peace Support Operations. In Anglo-Dutch Peace Support Operations Seminar. Den Haag, 1996.
  7. UN Documents. Uniting for Peace. A/RES/377(V) (November 3, 1950). Available from: (Accessed: 20.08.2014).
  8. Voorhoeve J.J.C. Peace, profits and principles: a study of Dutch foreign policy. The Hague, 1979.
  9. Park Il-Song, Yang Yong-Jo, Son Kyo-Suk. A History of Netherlands Forces’ Participation in the Korean War. Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs, The Republic of Korea. Seoul, 2010.
  10. South Korea: Foreign Investment. Available from: (Accessed: 17.01.2015).
  11. Posol Gollandii o roli Niderlandov v Koreyskoy voyne [The Ambassador of the Netherlands about the role of the Netherlands in the Korean War]. Available from: pageIndex=5&articleId=110273. (Accessed: 21.08.2014).
  12. Val’kov V.A. Ekonomika i politika Gollandii posle Vtoroy mirovoy voyny [Economy and politics of Holland after World War II]. Moscow: izdatel’stvo Instituta mezhdunarodnykh otnosheniy Publ., 1961. 233 p.
  13. Srebrenica: “A Safe Area”. Part I – The Yugoslavian problem and the role of the West. Nederlands Instituute voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (Netherlands Institute of War Documentation). Amsterdam, 2002. Available from: (Accessed: 22.03.2011).
  14. Konstitutsiya Korolevstva Niderlandov (v redaktsii ot 1982 goda) [The Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (in the edition of 1982)]. Available from: (Accessed: 18.01.2015).
  15. Klep C. Peacekeepers in a Warlike Situation: The Dutch Experience. In: Schmidt E.A. (ed.) Peace Operations between Peace and War: Four Studies. Nummer 11 (September, 1998), pp. 59–69. Available from:
  16. UN Documents. Comprehensive Review of the Whole Question of Peacekeeping Operations in All Their Aspects. A/RES/2308(XXII) (December 13, 1967). Available from: (Accessed: 18.08.2014).
  17. VSOONL. Vremennye sily Organizatsii Ob”edinennykh Natsiy v Livane [UNIFIL. United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon]. Available from: background.shtml. (Accessed: 20.08.2014).
  18. UN Documents. Resolution S/RES/425(1978) of March 19, 1978. Available from: (Accessed: 18.10.2014).
  19. UN Documents. Resolution S/RES/426(1978) of March 19, 1978. Available from: (Accessed: 18.10.2014).
  20. Schoenmaker B. The debate on the Netherlands contribution to UNIFIL, 1979–85. International Peacekeeping, 2006, vol. 12, 4, pp. 586–598.
  21. UN Documents. Note-verbale van de Nederlandse Permanente Vertegenwoordiging bij de Verenigde Naties aan de Secretaris-Generaal van de Verenigde Naties inzake Nederlandse deelname aan vredesoperaties [Note-verbal of the Dutch Permanent Representative to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary General of the United Nations on the Dutch participation in peacekeeping operations]. A/41/56 (in Dutch). 19.12.1985; New York. Available from: (Accessed: 20.10.2014).
  22. Ministry of Defense. Herstructurering en Verkleining. De Nederlandse krijgsmacht in een veranderende wereld [White Paper. Restructuring and Downsizing. The Dutch Armed Forces in a Changing World]. The Hague, 1991. Available from: (Accessed: 10.09.2012).
  23. Ministry of Defense. Prioriteiten Nota: Een andere wereld, een andere Defensie [A Different World, a Different Defense. White Paper on Priorities]. The Hague, 1993. Available from: SGD_19921993_0007821.pdf. (Accessed: 10.09.2012).
  24. Houben M. No Blank Cheque: How and why European States Precondition Their Participation in International Crisis Management Operations. Leiden, 2003.
  25. Van der Meulen J., de Konink M. Risky Missions: Dutch Public Opinion on peacekeeping in the Balkans. In: Everts Ph., Isernia P. (eds.) Public Opinion and the International Use of Force. Routledge, 2003.
  26. Bot B. The Dutch Approach: Preserving the trinity of politics, security and development. Speech by the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bot at the SID and NCDO Conference on Security and Development. The Hague, 2006, April 07. Available from:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *