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|Royal Constabulary |
Emblem of the Royal Constabulary
Logo of the Royal Constabulary
|Motto||Zonder vrees en zonder blaam|
Without fear and without dishonour
|Formed||November 26, 1814|
|Employees||5,961 Active military personnel (2019)|
|Legal jurisdiction||As per operations jurisdiction|
|Governing body||Ministry of Defence (Netherlands)|
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Dutch: Koninklijke Marechaussee, abbreviated to KMar) is one of the four branches of the Netherlands Armed Forces. It is a gendarmerie force performing military and civilian police duties.
The Corps de Maréchaussée was created by King William I to replace the French Gendarmerie on October 26, 1814. The word gendarmerie had gained a negative connotation, so William called the new force "marechaussée" (he forgot the first acute accent in the document). Maréchaussée is an alternate French word for gendarmerie. In the French historical context, "Maréchaussée" had been the force's name under the Royal Ancien Regime, while the term "gendarmerie" had been adopted by the French Revolution - making the Royalist term preferable for the Dutch King.
At that time, the Marechaussee was a part of the army (landmacht). The Marechaussee was tasked with maintaining public order, law enforcement, and safeguarding the main roads. Although not specifically mentioned, this included police duties for the army. As such, the Marechaussee was part of the national police (rijkspolitie).
In 1908, Queen Wilhelmina assigned the Marechaussee the task of guarding the royal palaces, which had previously been done by gardeners. To this day, guarding a palace is called "klompendienst" (clog service).
After Kristallnacht in November 1938, the Dutch government officially closed its borders to any Jewish refugees. The Dutch Marechaussee border guards searched for them and returned any found to Germany, despite the horrors of Kristallnacht being well known.. In 1939 Nicholas Winton succeeded with his Kindertransport, thanks to the guarantees he had obtained from Britain. After the first train, the process of crossing the Netherlands went smoothly.
On 5 July 1940, the German occupation government merged the Marechaussee with the rijksveldwacht and the gemeenteveldwacht. This meant that the Marechaussee lost its military status and the predicate Royal. These changes did not apply to the Marechaussee outside occupied Dutch territory. About 200 marechaussees guarded the Royal Family and the Dutch government-in-exile, and provided military police services to the Princess Irene Brigade, a brigade formed in the United Kingdom, consisting of Dutchmen.
After World War II, the Marechaussee was split into a Korps Rijkspolitie (National Police Corps) (as a replacement of the rijksveldwacht and the gemeenteveldwacht) and the Royal Marechaussee, which regained its military status. The main tasks for the Marechaussee since then have been border protection, military police and guard duties.
On July 3, 1956, Princess Beatrix became patroness of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.
In 1994, the national and municipal police forces were merged into 25 regional police forces and the Korps landelijke politiediensten (National Police Services Agency). The National Police transferred its airport police and security tasks (primarily Schiphol) to the Marechaussee.
In 1998, the Marechaussee became a separate Service within the armed forces.
In 2014, a team of 40 Dutch Royal Gendarmes went to eastern Ukraine to assist the investigation into the shooting down of Malaysian airliner MH17. They provided security for the international team and assistance in collecting evidence from the crash site.
The emblem of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is, as with many other gendarmerie forces, a flaming grenade. In the 17th century, a new weapon was introduced in Europe: the hand grenade. The soldiers who handled grenades were called grenadiers. They became an elite type of soldier in all European armies. In France, the grenade symbol was adopted by the gendarmerie, and this was imitated by similar forces throughout Europe.
The flaming grenade (but in this case within an eight-pointed star) was also the emblem of the Rijkspolitie.
The present marechaussee is a police organisation with a military status, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, but mostly working for the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. The RNLM performs the following duties:
- assistance to and replacement by the National Police
- fighting illegal immigration
- fighting international crime
- guarding the national borders
- guarding the royal palaces and the house of the Prime Minister
- military police functions for the Dutch Armed Forces
- riot control and protection
- security and police work at all civilian airports, notably Schiphol Airport
- VIP close protection including the Royal Family and high-ranking government officials
- Special Protection Assignments Brigade (BSB), special forces for arrests, surveillance and protection
- KMOO, the Military Police Service
The first four units are territorial, other two have national rather than regional responsibilities.
- Colt Canada C8NLD
- Glock 17
- Heckler & Koch HK416
- Heckler & Koch MP5
- FN MAG (only on AIFV armoured vehicles)
In the course of time the two acute accents of the French spelling (Maréchaussée) were dropped. The lowest ranking personnel are referred to as marechaussees (without the capital M), a rank comparable to lance corporal and corporal.
- "Policing in the Netherlands" (PDF). January 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2012.
- "Aantallen personeel". defensie.nl (in Dutch). 1 July 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
- de Jong, Dr. L, "part 1", Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog [A Chronicle of the Netherlands in the World War] (in Dutch)
- "Sir Nicholas Winton: How One Man Saved So Many Lives". Flashbak. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- "Dutch military police in Ukraine to investigate flight MH17". BBC NEWS. 26 July 2014.
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