This factsheet explores the meaning of the term veteran in the Netherlands and what determines veteran status.
Since the publication of the ‘Coherent Care for Veterans’ policy document in 1990, the Netherlands has been pursuing an active veterans’ policy. The following definition of a veteran was used in that policy until early 2012: “All former military personnel with Dutch nationality who have served the Kingdom of the Netherlands in times of war or similar situations, including international peacekeeping missions.” Using that definition meant that only retired service personnel could be given veteran status. Service personnel in active service with deployment experience were not a target group of the veterans’ policy because that category already appeared to be guaranteed sufficient care and appreciation (recognition) within the armed forces. However, over the years, the distinction between veterans and service personnel in active service became a matter of public and political debate. Those who regarded service personnel in active service also as veterans and observed the need to provide a statutory basis safeguarding the entitlement of deployed service personnel to after-care, wanted to meet the need for a sense of ‘shared experience that counts’ and hoped, in so doing, actively to involve service personnel with deployment experience in veterans’ events (e.g. reunions and the Netherlands’ Veterans’ Day).
Veteraneninstituut, 2014. Veteran Status. Fact Sheet.