Defense ministry is looking into Scandinavian style conscription


The Dutch defense ministry is looking into the possibility of introducing a Scandinavian style conscription system to solve the lack of military personnel.

The Dutch army has some 9,000 vacancies at the moment, a quarter of the total number of jobs, and the Swedish model in particular has attracted the attention of defense junior minister Christophe van der Maat, the Telegraaf reports.

The Swedish defense ministry selects a group of 4,000 18-year-olds each year, some of whom volunteer to join and others who are conscripted. They are given an 11 month basic training and can then be called up when necessary. Norway has a similar system.

The system would not only provide a permanent influx of new recruits but will bring youngsters into contact with the military as a career choice, the paper said.

‘There are no concrete plans at the moment but we are gathering information about what other countries are doing, including Sweden,’ a defense spokesman told the paper.

If the Dutch government adopts the system it will first have to tackle the lack of qualified training staff, the paper said.

Under the Dutch conscription system, which has not included compulsory training since 1997, all boys and girls are sent a letter in the year they turn 17, informing them they have been added to the military service register. They can be called up at any time if the Netherlands goes to war with another country before they turn 45.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation