Ambassadors Henne Schuwer and Pete Hoekstra sign the defense treaty while Minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development) and Prime Minister Mark Rutte look on.

The Netherlands and the United States signed a treaty today to strengthen the nations’ cooperation on military equipment and operations.

Signed by the Netherlands Ambassador Henne Schuwer and US Ambassador Pete Hoekstra, the treaty involves exchanging military personnel, such as pilots, liaison officers, and technicians, as well as exchanging information about new technological systems. This is especially important in large-material projects, such as the replacement of helicopters (Chinook and Apache), the purchase of unmanned aircraft (Reaper), or the exchange of information during replacements of submarines and frigates. Both countries also agreed to cooperate further in missile defense.

The US and the Netherlands already work intensively together in defense. With this new treaty, this cooperation is strengthened in these areas.

The signing of the treaty coincides with Prime Minister Rutte’s meeting with President Donald Trump.

Shared values

Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten is happy with the agreement. “We share the same values,” she said.

The minister mentioned the trainings and mutual operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. She also pointed out the Dutch-American cooperation for transferring military equipment, such as American equipment that was moved from Germany to the Netherlands last month.

Defense budget

Bijleveld said that while there are some disagreements on other issues, such as trade, that is not the case with defense. “Of course, the United States would like to see us raising our defense budget. I agree with them, and we are looking for ways to raise it,” she said.

Exclusive partner

With this agreement, the Netherlands enters a small, exclusive group of allies and partners of the United States. The US has signed similar agreements with, among others, the UK, Australia, and Canada.