Ambassador André Haspels talks about the service of US General Joseph Votel (second from right) that earned him the Medal of Merit in Gold from the Kingdom of the Netherlands

US General Joseph Votel received the Medal of Merit in Gold from the Kingdom of the Netherlands Thursday in Washington, D.C. during a downsized ceremony because of the coronavirus.

Ambassador André Haspels, on behalf of Minister of Defense Ank Bijleveld and the Chief of the Armed Forces Admiral Rob Bauer, presented the recognition to General Votel for his exceptional meritorious service to the Netherlands armed forces.

From 2016-2019, General Votel was Commander of the US Central Command. He led an international military coalition, including the Netherlands, to defeat ISIS strongholds and operations in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East.

“General Votel, your outstanding leadership served as an example to our soldiers, which fostered and even increased trust and cooperation between our countries’ militaries,” said Ambassador Haspels.

The general was further praised for his work, military diplomacy, and efforts of coalition integration and building partnerships, which enabled the Dutch military’s integration into larger US and NATO strategies.

Dutch and American men and women have fought side by side in many conflicts, contributing to stability and promoting peace. Recently, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the US joined forces in the global coalition against ISIS.

Our nations also participate together in NATO and other military exercises, currently in “Defender Europe,” the largest US deployment in Europe in more than 25 years, counting 20,000 American service members. We further share intelligence and jointly invest in military programs and missile defense systems.