Commando Marco Kroon has been awarded the highest Dutch military honour, the Willem’s Order cross, for his work in Afghanistan.
It is the first time in 54 years the medal has been awarded to an individual soldier, the defence ministry said.
Making the award, queen Beatrix said Kroon had showed ‘courage and dedication’ while leading his elite unit in action against the Taliban.
Crown prince Willem-Alexander, princess Máxima, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop also witnessed the presentation in parliament’s central courtyard. The ceremony was shown live on Nos tv.
The Netherlands has some 1,200 troops in Afghanistan working with other Nato forces on building up long-term stability in the country.
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