A look at the Defence news 17 – 23 September

With 1,500 servicemen and servicewomen performing ceremonial tasks, the Defence organisation once again provided support on a grand scale for Prinsjesdag – the  opening of the parliamentary year in The Hague. This military presence symbolises the protection that the Defence organisation offers the kingdom’s monarchy and democracy.

The king and queen in the midst of military ceremonial.

The king and queen in the midst of military ceremonial.

Prinsjesdag is the third Tuesday of September, and it is an important day in Dutch politics. On that day, the king delivers his speech from the throne in the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights), setting out government policy for the coming parliamentary session. The budget is also presented. It is a day of ritual and ceremony.

On the Malieveld in The Hague, a saluting battery from the Mobile Artillery Corps fired the traditional salute with one-minute intervals. As per tradition, the first shot rang as the king left Noordeinde Palace, and the salute ceased the moment the king and the royal procession returned from the Ridderzaal.

MARSOF-operators approach a StenaLine-ferry in fast FRISC-motorboats.

MARSOF-operators approach a StenaLine-ferry in fast FRISC-motorboats.

Antiterrorism exercise in the port of Rotterdam

Special forces of the Marine Corps staged the antiterrorism exercise Frogdrill in the ports of Rotterdam and Scheveningen. The special forces sprang into action after the captain of a Stena Line passenger ferry reported a group of suspicious passengers on board.

A group of MARSOF operators were going to pose as tourists and board the ship in civilian vehicles. However, the terrorists were alert and saw through the marines’ ruse.

As a result, a drastic change of tack was needed: from stealthy penetration to a major 3-pronged attack. An NH90 maritime combat helicopter lowered part of the team on deck. Another part arrived via the quay; and a third group came in over sea using super-fast FRISC powerboats and rope ladders. Twelve suspects were arrested.