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Country Reports
THE NETHERLANDS, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The Netherlands ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 12 April 1999 and it entered into force on 1 October 1999. The Netherlands has continued to be a leader in promoting universalization and effective implementation of the treaty. It has served as co-rapporteur of the SCE on Mine Clearance. Since January 2000 it has chaired the Mine Action Support Group. The Netherlands contributed about US$10 million to mine action programs in 1999.

Mine Ban Policy

The Netherlands was one of the first countries to opt for a fast track process to ban antipersonnel mines, joining the “core group” of countries which worked together in what became known as the ‘Ottawa Process’ to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT). Netherlands signed the Treaty on 3 December 1997. Ratification of international treaties is a lengthy procedure in the Netherlands, and was achieved for the MBT on 12 April 1999. Thus, the treaty entered into for the Netherlands on 1 October 1999.

National implementation legislation has also proceeded slowly, and was still being drafted in May 2000. Each part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (i.e., the Dutch Antilles) will proceed separately with its implementation legislation. For the Netherlands, “The General Arms Control and Disarmament Treaties Implementation Act,” was drafted by the Ministers of Justice, Home Affairs and Defense, and sent to the State Council in October 1999 for advice.[1] The final legislation was expected to be sent to Parliament in the spring of 2000, but had not been as of 1 May.[2] The government has stated, “Before this Act enters into force, provisions of the Convention will be implemented on the basis of existing legislation, such as the Import and Export Act 1962.”[3]

In May 1999 the Netherlands participated in the First Meeting of State Parties (FMSP) to the MBT in Maputo, Mozambique, having been one of the “Group of Friends of Maputo” which helped to organize the FMSP. The Dutch delegation also included an NGO representative. In the framework of the Friends of Maputo, the Netherlands together with South Africa, Canada, Belgium and Sweden has encouraged State Parties to present their Article 7 reports on time.

At the FMSP, the Netherlands became co-rapporteur (with Peru) of the intersessional Standing Committee of Experts (SCE) on Mine Clearance, which held meetings in September 1999 and May 2000. In September 2000, the Netherlands will become co-chair of the SCE. The Netherlands has been very actively involved in all five SCEs. At the SCE meeting on General Status of the Convention in January 2000, the Netherlands was one of the governments which reiterated that antivehicle mines with antihandling devices which function like AP mines – which may explode from an unintentional act of a person -- are banned under the MBT.[4]

The Dutch delegation welcomed the release by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines of Landmine Monitor Report 1999 at the FMSP. The government of the Netherlands strongly supports the work of Landmine Monitor and co-hosted the Landmine Monitor researchers meeting preparing for the 2000 report in Noordwijkerhout on 15-17 May 2000.

On 7 January 2000 the Netherlands presented its first report under Article 7 of the MBT, for the period 1 March-31 December 1999, which provided comprehensive information on implementation measures and destruction of stockpiles.

The Netherlands has supported all UNGA pro-ban resolutions to date, and has also served as chair of the Mine Action Support Group (MASG) in New York since 1 January 2000. MASG coordinates the mine action policy of the twenty-two most significant donors.

It has also actively promoted the universalization of the MBT. In a letter to the Dutch Campaign, the Foreign Minister stated, “The Netherlands has played an active role in the Ottawa process and will continue to make every effort for universal endorsement and implementation of this treaty.” [5] The Netherlands, especially within the framework of the European Union and Common Foreign & Security Policy, presses governments that have not done so to ratify or accede to the Treaty. The government has particularly focussed on Turkey and the USA. [6]

Regarding Dutch policy about possible involvement in joint military operations where AP mines are used by non-signatory countries, the government’s position has been made clear by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on two occasions. In a letter to the NGO Pax Christi, Foreign Minister J J van Aartsen stated that within NATO operations AP mines can no longer play a role. The Dutch military will not participate in any preparatory operational activity with the intention to use AP mines or mixed systems which contain them. Dutch soldiers are not allowed to assist with the use of AP mines, nor incite or request the use of these weapons. The command structure has also been made subordinate to this policy: a Dutch commander in joint operations will not order the use of AP mines and Dutch soldiers under US or Turkish command will not execute any order to use AP mines but look for alternative methods to achieve the objective.[7]

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also stated in the Senate on 23 March 1999 that none of the NATO partners will assist Turkey or the USA (within NATO only the USA and Turkey have not signed the MBT) with the use of AP mines or with preparations for use, and will not tolerate the use of AP mines on their territory.[8]

The Amended Protocol II of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) was approved by the Dutch Senate on 2 February 1999.[9] The Netherlands submitted its report as required under Article 13, and participated in the First Conference of States Parties to Amended Protocol II of the CCW in December 1999, where its delegation viewed the United States’ proposal for strengthening Amended Protocol II on antivehicle mines as containing useful elements for further discussion. At the Netherlands’ request, the Quakers’ United Nations Office in Geneva organized an informal meeting during the CCW Conference at which representatives of several governments and NGOs discussed the need and possibilities for strengthening the Amended Protocol II with regard to antivehicle mines.[10]

The Netherlands does not oppose discussion on landmines within the Conference on Disarmament, but insists that if a new treaty is developed this should not lessen the scope of the Mine Ban Treaty which is regarded as “the comprehensive legal instrument on the subject of antipersonnel mines which should gain universal acceptance. The Netherlands supports all efforts that might contribute to the total elimination of anti-personnel mines in whatever form, provided these efforts do not detract or deviate from the high standards set in this Convention.”[11]

Production and Transfer

According to the Ministry of Defense, production of landmines stopped twenty years ago.[12] For the acquisition of alternatives to AP mines, between US$25-100 million (Dfl 50 and 200 million) is planned for 2003.[13]

With the October 1999 entry into force of the MBT for the Netherlands, its limited export moratorium of September 1993, which had been expanded in 1996, became a complete ban on exports of AP mines except for the sole purpose of their destruction. There has been little information about past exports of AP mines by the Netherlands.[14] Some AP mines were transferred to Germany for their destruction, as permitted under the MBT.

The Netherlands imported mines from the United States, Germany, Austria and perhaps other nations.[15] These include 822 directional fragmentation mines from Austria in 1997, which are reported to have no tripwires and can be command-detonated only (mines with tripwires which allow victim-activation fall within the MBT definition of an AP mine),[16] as well as 630 Claymore mines from the US in 1984-86 and 5,984 Gator AP mines in 1991.[17] The Netherlands has decided to destroy the Gator mine, which is a mixed mine system in which AP mines are packaged with antitank mines, as described below.

The Ministry of Defense is considering importing Claymore mines and antitank mines with antihandling devices, within the limits imposed by the amended Protocol II of the CCW.[18] Given the strong view of the Dutch government that, under the MBT, antivehicle mines with antihandling devices which explode due to the unintentional act of a person are banned, it is anticipated that the government would take great care in what type of mines it decided to import.[19] The Netherlands has also decided that existing stocks of antitank mines will be destroyed when new AT mines have been acquired.[20]

Stockpiling and Destruction

Research into the safe destruction of AP mines was started in 1994 by the Ministry of Defense, after pressure from the two main political parties and the Dutch Campaign to Ban Landmines.[21] In 1997 the Minister of Defense told Parliament that 440,000 landmines would be destroyed, of which 254,526 were AP mines.[22] A total of 209,500 type AP22 mines were destroyed in June 1997, jointly with Belgian mines to share costs, by incineration by the Buck company in Germany at a cost of US$314,000 (Dfl 628,500).

From late 1996 to May 1998 the French company AF Demil (or NAMSA) destroyed 45,026 Model AP23 antipersonnel mines and 155,000 antitank mines, by separating the explosives and the metals. [23] The metals have been recycled.

Claymore mines are not mentioned in the Article 7 report as forming part of the stockpile; the Ministry of Defense decided in 1997 that Claymores fall outside the MBT definition of an AP mine.[24] Command-detonated Claymore mines are permitted under the treaty; tripwire-operated Claymores are prohibited.

Apart from Claymores, the only AP mines remaining in stock are the 5,984 Gator mines imported from the U.S. in 1991. The Netherlands has 272 Gator systems (or canisters), each with 22 AP mines and 72 AT mines. In 1997, the Netherlands originally planned to modify the Gator mixed mine system by removing the AP mines and replacing them with antitank mines with antihandling devices. Because recent conflicts such as in Kosovo have shown there is a decreased need for such area denial munitions, the decision was changed in 1999. The entire Gator mixed mine systems will be destroyed, including all AT and AP mines. The destruction order has been tendered and also sent to the NATO Materiel Agency. The mine systems will be destroyed in the period 2002-2003 at a budgeted cost of approximately $1.5 million.[25] According to its Article 7 report and the report to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE):

“The Netherlands has stockpiled a total of 272 Cluster Bomb Units 89 “GATOR” which are non-Ottawa Convention compliant because they contain APMs.... Recently, however, the Minister of Defence has announced that all GATOR systems will be dismantled and destroyed. This decision was communicated to Parliament in a letter dated September 8, 1999. The destruction of the 272 GATOR systems will be completed within the time frame the Convention stipulates. For the Netherlands the deadline is 1 October 2003.”[26]

The Netherlands Article 7 report also states that 4,076 AP22 mines will be retained for development and training purposes, clarifying the earlier approximate number of 5,000 given by the Ministry of Defense in February 1999.[27]

It was reported last year that United States military bases in the Netherlands have no munition stockpiles.[28]


There has been no use of AP mines in the Netherlands except for training humanitarian deminers of the Dutch armed forces. In 1997, a research project was started to develop new demining techniques, financed by the Ministry of Defense and the Development Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this project AP mines may be used for testing new techniques.[29]

Mine Action Funding - Governmental

The Netherlands has contributed considerable resources to mine action programs over the last four years. Between 1996-1998, approximately US$30.2 million (Dfl60.4 million; 1999 exchange rate) was spent, and in 1999, approximately US$10 million (Dfl23 million; 2000 exchange rate). From 1996-1998, approximately US$14 million (Dfl28 million) was donated to the United Nations (UN Development Program Trust Fund, Mine Action Centers, UNMAS Trust Fund); in 1999 this amounted to US$3.55 million (Dfl7.8 million). Dutch donations to NGOs between 1996-1998 totaled US$14.1 million (Dfl28.2 million) and in 1999, US$5.3 million (Dfl11.8 million).[30]

In 1999, the Dutch government contributed to mine action in the following countries as follows:[31]

  • Abkhazia/Georgia: Dfl 325,000 (US$0.2 million) to the Halo Trust.
  • Afghanistan: Dfl 3 million (US$1.35 million) to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Aid.
  • Angola: Dfl 4 million (US$1.8 million) to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) and Menschen gegen Minen.
  • Bosnia: Dfl 2.5 million (US$1.2 million) to the UNDP Trust Fund and Bosnia-Herzogovina MAC.
  • Cambodia: Dfl 645,000 (US$0.3 million) to the UN Development Program (UNDP) and Cambodia MAC (Mine Action Center).
  • Chechnya: Dfl 520,000 (US$0.2 million) to the Halo Trust.
  • Kosovo: Dfl 1 million (US$0.46 million) to the Halo Trust and Dfl1.7 million (US$0.9 million) to the UNMAS Trust Fund.
  • Mozambique: Dfl 1.7 million (US$0.8 million) to the Halo Trust and NPA.
  • Somalia: Dfl250,000 (US$0.1 million) to the UNDP.

For these country contributions there is no breakdown of the funding for demining, mine awareness programs or victim assistance. The Netherlands believes that these elements should be integrated within mine action and cannot be separated. In addition to these country-specific contributions, US$1.8 million (Dfl 4 million) was given to the ICRC for victim assistance in 1999. The Dutch government also supported the Landmine Monitor project with US$50,000 in 1999 and US$100,000 in 2000.[32]

In 1999, the government adopted a policy framework for humanitarian mine action. The Netherlands will only support mine clearance program which follow the criteria of UNMAS, which requires country-specific coordinated programming of the following elements: mine awareness; minefield surveys, marking and mine clearance; victim assistance; mine ban advocacy; and strengthening of local capacity through training and quality assurance.

Only countries which have signed and implemented the Mine Ban Treaty are eligible for support, although in exceptional cases support will be given – as in the case of Angola, which has signed the MBT, but continued to use landmines. In this case, the Netherlands decided to support demining in the areas surrounding internally displaced populations. The Netherlands will no longer support conferences or research and development, as it did in the past (see below). The focus of funded programs should be on actual mine clearance. The Netherlands also wants to transfer demining tasks as soon as possible to the local organizations; local capacity building and training has therefore high priority.[33]

The government has made in-kind contributions to mine action. The Dutch armed forces have a pool of eighty humanitarian deminers available for mine action by international organisations. In 1999 eight deminers were deployed as instructors to Cambodia at CMAC and to Bosnia-Herzegovina at BHMAC. Dutch deminers have also given mine awareness training to Kosovar refugees in Holland before they returned home.[34]

“HOM 2000” is a research project into new demining techniques initiated in 1997 by TNO, The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research. The Ministry of Defense and the development department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported this effort, focused on a new multi-sensor system, with funding of US$10 million (Dfl 20 million) in 1997. It is expected the project will be discontinued in the fall of this year.

The International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC) in Enschede, the Netherlands, is also involved in a mine detection project. In August 1999, it presented an airborne remote-sensing minefield detection system, which is the result of a US$4.6 million (Dfl10 million) international project involving ten partners in eight countries (Luxemburg, Sweden, United Kingdom, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands), financed by the European Commission, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Portugal and ITC. This is a multi-sensor system, involving optical sensors in the visible/near infrared region, thermal sensors in the infrared region and sensors in the microwave region. The airborne minefield detection multi-sensor system, which can be helpful to supplement level one surveys, was tested at the end of 1998 in Mozambique.[35] According to ITC the results of the Mozambique test were very positive. Not only minefields were found by airborne remote sensing, but also individual mines.[36]

Mine Action Funding - Nongovernmental

In the Netherlands, Kerken in Actie (ACT – Netherlands, Action by Churches Together), Anti-Landmijn Stichting (Anti Landmine Foundation), Pax Christi/Cordaid, Stichting Vluchteling (Refugee Foundation) and Novib fund mine action programs.

Kerken in Actie funded programs in Cambodia and El Salvador (a mine survey by the International Demining Foundation). The Anti-Landmijn Stichting raises funds for mine action by international organizations, and has funded projects in Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Laos, Mozambique, Sudan and Chechnya, donating US$190,000 (Dfl379,690) each to MAG and the Halo Trust in 1997, with slightly smaller amounts in 1998. Pax Christi and Cordaid have jointly funded a mine awareness program in Southern Sudan. Stichting Vluchteling has financed a MAG mine awareness program in northern Iraq since 1996 (totaling US$ 160,000 over four years) and co-financed (with the Dutch government) mine clearance carrried out by MAG in northern Iraq in 1996-1997.[37]

Novib contributed US$6 million (Dfl13million) from 1995-2000 to demining and mine awareness projects in Afghanistan through OMAR. In Cambodia Novib supported local capacity training by MAG in 1995 and 1996 with US$82,000 (DFL180,000). In Laos a mine awareness and demining programme in Xieng Khouang province carried out by MAG was supported with US$250,000 (Dfl550,000), and a MAG demining program in Moxico province of Angola in 1998 received US$142,000 (Dfl215,000 ). In Mozambique Novib has supported ADEMO, a local landmine survivors network, from 1997-2001 with US$380,000 (Dfl800,000).


[1] Telephone interview with the legal affairs desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12 January 2000.
[2] Telephone interview with the legal affairs desk of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 May 2000.
[3] Report to the OSCE, 28 January 2000, p. 3.
[4] Oral statement of the Dutch Delegation, Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention, Geneva, Switzerland, 10-11 January 2000. See also, Human Rights Watch Fact Sheet, “Antivehicle Mines with Antihandling Devices,” January 2000.
[5] Letter from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, J J van Aartsen, to Pax Christi, 21 December 1999.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Handelingen Eerste Kamer (Acts of Parliament, Senate), The Hague, 23 March 1999.
[9] Handelingen Eerste Kamer (Acts of Parliament, Senate), The Hague, 2 February 1999, 18th Session, pp. 639-642.
[10] Interviews with Alexander Verbeek, Security Policy Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 31 January and 15 February 2000.
[11] Report to the OSCE, 28 January 2000, p. 2.
[12] For details of past production, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 749.
[13] Ministry of Defense, Materieel Projekten Overzicht 2000, Kl 16 and KL 17, 15 December 1999.
[14] De Nationale Ombudsman, Rapport 99/175, 19 April 1999. The report revealed exports of twenty-one AP23 mines to the US in 1981. Although more of these mines were offered to potential buyers in 1991/92, they were withdrawn from sales catalogues because of technical failures which led to the Dutch decision to destroy them.
[15] For details of past imports, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 750.
[16] 1997-98 Acts of Parliament, Appendix 368, Answer of the Minister of Defense, Voorhoeve, 2 December 1997, to questions raised by MP J Hoekema (D66), 11 November 1997.
[17] U.S. Defense Security Assistance Agency, Foreign Military Sales of Antipersonnel Mines, as of 8/11/93. See also: The Arms Project of Human Rights Watch & Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1993), p. 73.
[18] Ministry of Defense, Materieel Projekten Overzicht 2000, Kl 16 and KL 17, 15 December 1999.
[19] During two intersessional meetings of the SCE on General Status of the Convention, in January and May 2000, the government strongly expressed its view that such mines are outlawed by the treaty.
[20] Telephone interview with E Buskens, information desk, Ministry of Defense on 26 February 1999; Verslag van een Algemeen Overleg (report of a general meeting of the Foreign Affairs parliamentary committee with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense), 13 March 1997, 25 000 V, nr. 72, pp. 7-8.
[21] Handelingen Tweede Kamer (Acts of Parliament, Lower House), The Hague, 30 November 1994, 29th Session, pp. 133-135.
[22] “Verslag van een Algemeen Overleg,” (Report of a general meeting of the Foreign Affairs parliamentary committee with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense), 13 March 1997, 25 000 V, nr. 72, p. 7; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, sumbitted 7 January 2000.
[23] According to information from the Ministry of Defense in January 1999 they were destroyed by AF Demil. The MBT Article 7 Report mentions, however, another French company, NAMSA, as carrying out ths work.
[24] Letter to Novib from Ministry of Defense, 5 December 1997.
[25] Minister of Defense F H G de Grave, Letter to Parliament, 8 September 1999.
[26] Report to the OSCE, 28 January 2000, p. 3.
[27] This number is substantially greater than the 1,500 which the then-Foreign Minister announced would be retained at the MBT-signing conference in Ottawa in December 1997. See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 751.
[28] Telephone interview with a representative of the Ministry of Defense, March 1999.
[29] Handelingen Tweede Kamer (Acts of Parliament, Lower House), 10 February 1999, 50th Session, p. 3340.
[30] Telephone interviews with P M Kraan, Humanitarian Aid Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 January 1999 and 6 January 2000; Report to the OSCE, 28 January 2000. For a breakdown of country mine action programs supported from 1996-1998, see Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 751-752.
[31] Telephone interviews with P M Kraan, Humanitarian Aid Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 26 January 1999 and 6 January 2000; Report to the OSCE, 28 January 2000.
[32] Ibid.
[33] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Beleidskader Humanitair Ontmijnen (Humanitarian Demining Policy-Framework), 1999.
[34] Telephone interview with the Information Department of the Ministry of Defense, 25 January 2000; telephone interview with a representative of the Ministry of Defense in January 1999; Handelingen Tweede Kamer (Acts of Parliament, Lower House), The Hague, 10 February 1999, 50th Session, p. 3339; Verslag van een Algemeen Overleg (report of a general meeting of the Foreign Affairs parliamentary committee with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense), 13 March 1997, 25 000 V, nr. 72, pp. 7-8.
[35] Website of ITC: www.itc.nl/ags/projects/minefield_detection.
[36] Ibid., site visited 17 March 2000.
[37] Interview with Jaap ’t Gilde of Kerken in Actie and Jan Gruiters of Pax Christi Netherlands, 7 March 2000; Annual reports of Novib 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998; Daniel Koning, “Leven tussen mijnenvelden,” a 1997 folder of the Anti-Landmijn Stichting.