The Dutch 43rd Mechanised Brigade, which is stationed in Havelte, will on March 17 be officially integrated into the German 1st Panzer Division. 18 Dutch soldiers are now in the German camp Bergen Hohne in Lower Saxony, and eventually their number will increase to about 100. They operate 18 Leopard 2A6 tanks belonging to the German army.
“In 2011, the Dutch army retired all of its tanks,'' said Defence spokeswoman Marianne van der Linden, “so the Dutch Army will lease German tanks. So they will pay a fee for their use, but the Germans will do the maintenance work. That saves a lot of money.''
“The Dutch Army still has 16 tanks that were stockpiled in a shed. They are transferred to the German army, which will modernize them and add them to its own tank fleet.”
“Under German command”
According to Defence, construction of the German-Dutch cooperation is worded as follows: "A Dutch company with German equipment is part of a German tank battalion, itself part of a Dutch brigade, which is part of a division under German command."
Lieutenant Wouter van Rossen, the Dutch platoon commander in Germany, explains that “I am and remain a Dutch soldier, but I am under German command.''
Van Rossen drove tanks up to 2011. After the sale of our tanks, I got another job. Partly for this reason I am very pleased with this cooperation.''
Minister of Defence Hennis on February 4 signed an agreement with her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen.