The Royal Netherlands Army is firmly rooted in Dutch society. Employing 26,000 personnel, it is one of larger employers in the Netherlands.
The army is of crucial importance in the defence of Dutch territory and in responding to domestic disasters and crises. The Royal Netherlands Army has the manpower, resources and experience required to perform these tasks. The experience has been gained in the course of a large number of (peace) missions abroad. The army invests a great deal in maintaining contact with the emergency services, such as the fire brigade and the police, as well as with local authorities.
Government authorities regularly call upon the army for assistance. This may concern large-scale or lengthy crisis situations, which require more than the regular equipment and expertise. But the army has also provided assistance to the civil authorities during disasters such as the floods in Limburg in 1995, and during the foot-and-mouth crisis. In order to be prepared for these national tasks at all times, military personnel conduct a great many exercises, both at home and abroad.
Although it is not one of the core tasks, the army can also lend support to social organisations and their activities. The Regional Military Commands are the first point of contact for such requests. They assess the request and weigh the effort required against the wider social benefits to be gained.