Veterans deserve our recognition and respect. The Netherlands owes them a debt of gratitude for their efforts and dedication. One of the ways in which the Netherlands shows its gratitude is by pursuing a policy focused on appreciation, recognition and care.
Today’s veterans’ policy in The Netherlands is based on the Veterans Act (2012) and the Veterans Decree (2014), with two main policy objectives:
- promoting and increasing public recognition of veterans;
- minimising the negative (health) consequences of war or deployment experiences.
These are the original objectives laid down in the first document on veterans, entitled Coherent Care for Veterans, published in the Netherlands in 1990.
Various parties are involved in formulating and implementing veterans’ policy. Together, they help to raise public recognition and appreciation and to provide veterans with after-care in The Netherlands. The main parties are:
- the Ministry of Defence which determines and finances the policy and implements various policy initiatives;
- the Stichting het Veteraneninstituut (Vi) [Veterans’ Institute Foundation] which implements a significant part of veterans’ policy on behalf of the ministry;
- the Landelijk Zorgsysteem voor Veteranen (LZV) [National Care System for Veterans], which performs a pivotal function in the area of care for veterans;
- the Stichting Veteranen Platform [Veterans’ Platform Foundation] which, as an umbrella organisation made up of more than forty veterans’ organisations and trade unions, looks after veterans’ interests;
- the Stichting Nederlandse Veteranendag (NLVD) [Netherlands Veterans’ Day Foundation] which organises the Netherlands Veterans’ Day every year and promotes public appreciation for veterans.
Today there are close to 60.000 regular members in the Dutch Armed Forces, 5.000 reserve members and over 90.000 veterans.
The National Health Care System for Veterans (in Dutch: LZV)
The National Health Care System for Veterans in the Netherlands (in Dutch: LZV) offers an integrated mental care concept for Dutch veterans and their families.
The care system was initiated in 2005 and established in 2007 by the Dutch Department of Defence and based on a civil-military cooperation. The LZV offers primary and secondary healthcare through a central registration point for requests for assistance, called the Veteranenloket (Dutch Veteran Office).
Twelve organisations work together within the care system, with a convention agreement and a formal regulator, the Board for Civil-Military Care and Research (in Dutch: RZO).