The tasks of the Royal Netherlands Navy

The fleet, navy personnel and marines of the Royal Netherlands Navy are deployed worldwide in the interests of ensuring security at sea and from the sea. The Royal Netherlands Navy is capable of carrying out independent operations and joint operations with the Army, Air Force and Marechaussee, as well as with international Allies. The Royal Netherlands Navy is deployed both at home and abroad for crisis management operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The Royal Netherlands Navy is the oldest of the four Services of the Netherlands armed forces.

Video Royal Netherlands Navy, for peace and security at and from sea

There is also a short version of the corporate video.

HNLMS Van Speijk

HNLMS Van Speijk

Security at sea

The protection of shipping routes and hubs at sea is essential for unhampered trade and safe energy transport. The Navy also intercepts drug transports and combats piracy, human trafficking, gun running and terrorism. To that end, Royal Netherlands Navy ships carry out patrols and boarding and blockade operations.

Submarines provide security and gather intelligence in sea areas throughout the world. Closer to home, the Navy is also regularly deployed to clear explosives at sea and in sea ports, to carry out search-and-rescue operations and to patrol coastal waters.

Security from the sea

Units of the Royal Netherlands Navy can be deployed from the sea in order to carry out independent land operations or in support of other land operations. They do this by:

  • transporting troops, vehicles, ammunition, food and water;
  • providing medical and humanitarian assistance;  
  • gathering intelligence using, among other things, advanced sensors;
  • providing fire support.

To facilitate these operations, the Royal Netherlands Navy has the capability of setting up sea bases. A sea base acts as a centre for operational command and control. A sea base is entirely self-sufficient, with its own medical facilities, helicopters, landing craft and technical support.

The Royal Netherlands Navy in the Netherlands

At home in the Netherlands, the Navy, the oldest of the armed forces Services, makes an important contribution to society at large. The Navy:

  • supports the coastguard and carries out search-and-rescue operations;
  • combats terrorism, both above and under water;
  • clears unexploded mines and bombs at sea and in sea port areas;
  • provides diving expertise and medical assistance to divers;
  • carries out hydrographical surveys for making navigational charts;
  • supports civil authorities in the event of natural disasters or in searching for missing persons.

Further from home, the Royal Netherlands Navy provides protection for the Caribbean territories and territorial waters of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Navy vessels and marine units are permanently stationed in the Caribbean in order to perform the associated tasks.