The Dutch defence ministry is considering introducing a “Swedish style” military service questionnaire to encourage more young people to sign up for the army, the Telegraaf reports.
Caretaker minister Christophe van der Maat wants to investigate the option of sending all 17-year-olds a form asking about their willingness and suitability to serve in the armed forces.
A similar system operates in Sweden, where teenagers face a fine if they fail to complete the questionnaire.
All Dutch citizens between 17 and 35 are registered to be conscripted for military service in an emergency, but the obligation to report for duty was scrapped in 1997.
Last September the first batch of 140 conscripts began a voluntary service year, but the Dutch military is struggling to recruit new personnel.
“From 2028 we will need an intake of 3,000 to 4,000 service year recruits, alongside the regular intake of 4,500 professional staff,” Van der Maat said.
Lieutenant-general Martin Wijnen, commander of the Dutch army, said more recruits were needed to deal with the increasing threat from Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.
“The Netherlands must take the threat of a war seriously and our society needs to be prepared for it,” he said.
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