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Full Name 34 Kingdom of the Netherlands
Alliance Allies - Minor Member Nation or Possession
Entry into WW2 10 May 1940
Population in 1939 8,729,000
Military Deaths in WW2 7,900
Civilian Deaths in WW2 198,000
 - Civ Deaths from Holocaust 106,000


ww2dbaseDuring WW1, the Netherlands maintained a neutral status. In 1936, when Germany began a rearmament policy, the Netherlands also began building its defenses while continuing to maintain neutrality. As Germany annexed Austria and Czechoslovakia and invaded Poland, and as Japan became more of a threat in Asia against the Dutch holdings in the Pacific Ocean, the Netherlands government progressively increased its military budget in preparation for a potential war. These increases in military budget, however, would soon prove to be too late especially in light of so many years of military cutbacks during the inter-war years. On 10 May 1940, German forces crossed the border despite Dutch neutrality as part of a strategy to tie down Allied forces in the Low Countries while another force crossed through the Ardennes region on the Belgian-German border. With the mere 19 ill-equipped battalions unable to stop the German invasion, surrender came on 15 May; Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch government fled to London, England, United Kingdom to establish a government-in-exile (along with, eventually, 2,000 Dutch), while Princess Juliana fled to Ottawa, Canada. Among the chief reasons of the decision to surrender was the devastation observed at Rotterdam, Netherlands, which saw the death of over 900 civilians, and that the Germans had threatened to repeat such devastation against other Dutch cities. The German invasion resulted in 2,300 military and 3,000 civilian deaths; the Germans suffered 2,200 deaths and 1,300 captured.

ww2dbaseFrom Britain, many Dutch worked toward the Allied cause. In the air, Dutch pilots formed the No. 320, No. 321, and No. 322 Squadrons with the RAF; in 1943, the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School was re-established at Hawkins Field, Jackson, Mississippi, United States to train more Dutch pilots for the war effort. At sea, Dutch sailors and ships sailed with Allied convoys while a small Dutch naval presence continued to exist in the Pacific Ocean. On the ground, the Princess Irene Brigade was formed in Britain to train for, and would participate, the invasion of Western Europe.

ww2dbaseFrom airfields in the Netherlands, German Luftwaffe operated both fighter and bomber airfields, participating in attacks on the United Kingdom as well as in the defense against Allied bombers. On the ground, the Dutch coastline was a part of the extensive German coastal defense line that stretched from France in the south to Norway in the north.

ww2dbaseArthur Seyss-Inquart, a German civilian, was placed as the governor of occupied Netherlands. By the end of 1940, the occupation administration had outlawed all socialist and communist political parties. In 1941, all political parties except for the Dutch Nazi Party (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging or NSB for short) were banned. While Nazi philosophy viewed the Dutch Christians as one of the Aryan races, and thus eligible to be Germanized, the Dutch Jews were subjected to the same persecution as Jews in other Nazi-occupied nations. The first deportation took place in Feb 1941 when a small group of Jews were sent to Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. In response to this, Dutch workers staged a nation-wide protest. In May 1942, realizing that the Dutch people as a whole resisted Nazi German philosophies, the occupation administration's treatment toward the Dutch became harsher. In the same year, the Westerbork camp was established as a transit camp for holding Jews awaiting transport to concentration camps to the east. Of the 140,000 Dutch Jews, only 30,000 would survive the German occupation and the war; the most well known victim was arguably Anne Frank. Many Dutch Christians, particularly men, were drafted into forced labor service.

ww2dbaseSome Dutch participated in active resistance. Unique to the Dutch resistance movement, the activities that the resistance groups engaged in were overwhelmingly non-violent, though attacks did infrequently take place. Much of the resistance efforts centered around forging ration cards, counterfeiting money, and hiding Jews, forced labor candidates, and downed Allied airmen. Some of the more visible acts of resistance included the strike of Feb 1941, doctors' strike of 1942, and the general strike of 1943. Many workers who were drafted into German labor service engaged in passive resistance by working slowly or intentionally making mistakes. The four largest resistance organizations were the LO ("Landelijke Organisatie voor hulp aan onderduikers" or National Organization for Help to People in Hiding), the KP ("Knokploeg" or Assault Group), the RVV ("Raad van Verzet" or Council of Resistance), and the OD ("Orde Dienst" or Order of Service); they generally operated independently from each other. Like in other occupied nations, the German occupation administration responded brutally against the resistance groups, especially those that were militant. After the successful Feb 1943 assassination of collaborator Lieutenant General Hendrik Seyffardt by resistance group CS-6, for example, 50 Dutch were killed. In another incident, Dutch resistance fighters killed a number of German troops near the village of Putten on 1 and 2 Oct 1944; the Germans responded by killing 7 of Putten's inhabitants and deporting most of the remainder of the Putten population to concentration camps (most of whom would not survive the camps).

ww2dbaseThere were Dutch who supported the German occupation. Largely registered members of the NSB, which was about 3% of the adult Dutch population at the start of the war but grew during the occupation, they held many civilian posts in the occupation government, searched for Jews for bounty, and several thousand joined the German military. In regards to the latter, between 20,000 and 25,000 Dutch served in the German Army and the Waffen-SS, most of whom were assigned to the 4th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Brigade Nederland which saw action against the Soviet Union and the SS Volunteer Grenadier Brigade Landstorm Nederland which fought in the Low Countries.

ww2dbaseThe harsh winter of 1944 to 1945, combined with German rationing of food for Dutch civilians, caused the Hongerwinter famine that killed about many thousands. As Allied troops approached, Dutch railway workers staged a strike, and the Germans responded by cutting off all food and fuel shipments into the Netherlands. The combination of the two, through starvation, disease, and the cold, led to the death of 30,000. Relief came as Allied troops arrived from the east in May 1945, spearheaded by Canadians.

ww2dbaseThe German occupation surrendered on 5 May 1945 after the death of 205,901 Dutch in Europe and about 30,000 in the Dutch East Indies. The NSB was outlawed on 6 May 1945. Its leader, Anton Mussert, was arrested on the following day and would eventually be found guilty and sentenced to death. Many other collaborators were likely killed, either through proper legal proceedings or at the hands of vigilantes. The Dutch government initially pursued a campaign to annex German territory to effectively double the size the country, but ultimately it would only gain two small villages. In the few years after the war, most German passport holders in the Netherlands were deported back to Germany.

Last Major Update: Jun 2011

Gerbrandy, PieterMussert, AntonWilhelmina
Helfrich, ConradPoorten, Hein ter

Events Taken Place in Netherlands
Invasion of France and the Low Countries10 May 1940 - 22 Jun 1940
Bombing of Cities in France and Low Countries1 Jul 1940 - 7 May 1945
V-Weapons Campaign13 Jun 1944 - 30 Mar 1945
Discovery of Concentration Camps and the Holocaust24 Jul 1944 - 29 Apr 1945
Operation Market Garden17 Sep 1944 - 25 Sep 1944
Battle of the Scheldt Estuary2 Oct 1944 - 8 Nov 1944
Advance to the Rhine20 Jan 1945 - 25 Mar 1945
Operations Manna, Chowhound, and Faust29 Apr 1945 - 10 May 1945


Isaac Sweers

Territories, Possessions, and Nations Under the Influence of Netherlands
Dutch East IndiesDutch West Indies

Westerbork Concentration CampPrison Camp


Japanese delegration member Koki Hirota at the second Hague Conference, the Netherlands, Jan 1930Do X aircraft in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Nov 1930
See all 142 photographs of Netherlands in World War II

Netherlands in World War II Interactive Map

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. VHJM van Neerven says:
17 Apr 2012 05:03:23 PM

Dear Mr. Chen,

I noted a small error in your text above: "the OD (Orde Dienst or Order of Service)" should read: "the OD ( Orde Dienst or Service of Order)." In Dutch, the last term of a combination always is the determining term.
There is also a matter of fact: after the Putten attack, only the males were deported, leaving widows and orphans behind for long years, after the war. On a related matter, you might want to mention that armed resistance was practically impossible in the most densely populated country of the world.

I noted that you follow the traditional story about the Winter of Hunger 1944-1945. The verdict is still out on this winter; religious and ethnic divides in the Netherlands have tended to stress the history of the West over those of the South, East and North. It is well worth mentioning that the South was already liberated by that time (Operations Market / Garden) and that only the western cities suffered, and not much worse than in any other bad winter. Many now hold the inclement weather of the 1930-1960 period and poor administration from the London government responsible. Rationing was a Dutch affair completely; the Germans were kept far apart from it. Your statement: "As Allied troops approached, Dutch railway workers staged a strike, and the Germans responded by cutting off all food and fuel shipments into the Netherlands." is simply not correct. The London government had all coal traffic from the South to the West stopped by calling a general railroad strike. No food or fuel came from abroad in those years, so there was nothing for the Germans to cut off.

Another hotly debated point is the fact that, of all occupied countries, the Netherlands lost the greatest percentage of its Jewish population. Once again, orders from the London government, for all civil servants to remain loyally on their post, played a large part. As a result, nowhere else was it easier to find Jews than in the Netherlands. However, once again mythology (Anne Frank!) has taken over from reality and this sobering fact is often hidden in shame and outright negation.

Hoping to have helped you improve your excellent site,

Dhr. Drs VHJM van Neerven MSW MA
editor-in-chief  & senior counselor
VNC communication counsel
2. Anonymous says:
11 Oct 2012 09:50:49 AM

I am trying to find my fathers service number he was in WW2 and from the Netherlands would you be able to help
3. Mrs M C Mason says:
20 Dec 2012 05:02:58 AM

My late father as born Hendrik Wilhelmus Metzger and served with the Princess irene Brigade during ww2. His army service number was I am trying to find information about his time based in Wolverhampton (found a site, but it was obviously in Dutch, which I don't understand a word of, sorry)My brothr has been able to obtain service records from the dutch defence ministry. But as Henry met my mother here would be nice to have the extra information. thank you for any assistance on this matter.
4. Marie Hutman says:
4 May 2013 02:58:24 AM

Hi,Im trying to find out my Fathers service number he was in the Dutch army during WW2
5. Michael Lenderink says:
7 Jul 2013 06:05:00 AM

I am trying to find about my uncle Benjamin Lenderink, my dad Jacobous Lenderink moved to Australia straight after the war and passed away and know little about his brother could anyone help.
Michael Lenderink
6. Lisa Londregan says:
23 Apr 2014 10:39:54 PM

I am trying to find out how I would get the details of my grandfathers service details. He served in the Dutch army during WW2 and was last stationed in Indonesia before moving to Australia.
7. Imogen says:
24 Apr 2014 10:29:07 PM


I am trying to find out more about my grandfather and his service details. He was in the Dutch Intelligence and served on a submarine, possibly the K-XIV, K-XV or K-XVI. Any help information you could give me would very much be appreciated.
8. Michael Lenderink says:
22 Jun 2014 06:08:47 AM

I wrote 12 months ago trying to find out how I could get information on my uncle Benjamin Lenderink he served in the Dutch underground, we are coming over and would like to see where he is buried and any places of interest in regards to his short life.
Michael Lenderink
9. Connie fisk says:
20 Mar 2015 11:37:57 PM

my father Jacobs Kamp was a forced labourer he was in Dres den and was there when 'Stalins organ was operational could you tell me what time during the war he was there pleaded
10. John Boom says:
20 Jun 2015 04:20:40 PM

My father fought with the resistance in WW2 in Holland, but my question is about what happened to the real estate properties owned by the Jewish people that were killed at that time? Was or is there a database in English or Dutch that can be searched to find what relatives owned at that time? Or did the Dutch government just lay claim to those properties?
11. Anonymous says:
3 Nov 2015 02:40:24 PM

Those poor Jews. Hitler, why do you have to be so mean! This is a very helpful website! Thanks for making it! PS. What are 'service numbers'
12. theWinterSoldier says:
3 Nov 2015 02:45:30 PM

WW2 was a depressing time. Hitler was being an *** to the world. (forgive my language) Why did he do such things? I'm not a HUGE expert and don't know much about WW2. Only that there were Jews and Nazis and that's where comic book character, Captain America, comes into play. I'm so glad that this website was created, it helped me A LOT! Also, what is a 'service number'? And why are people trying to find them? Is that a dumb question?? It probably is. Anyway, thanks for creating this!

13. Michael says:
19 Dec 2015 01:54:48 AM

Hi I'm trying to find out about my grandfathers service number.I think he was in the resistance. His name is Johannes Andreas Vereijken, he was born in Nuenen, on 21/2/1910. I am trying to get replicas of his war medals made but don't know which medals he was entitled to. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
14. William says:
25 Jan 2016 03:47:00 AM

I am seeking details of a Dutch soldier who served in Java and was taken prisoner by the Japanese. From the information I currently have his name was D Bronkhorst and served at Serambang on Java. Many thanks
15. Ronald Bommel says:
4 Feb 2016 08:13:56 PM

My father's Julius Bommel, I want to know where were he in the POW in the Burma Road infamy. Does he have Medals for his country at either Netherlands or Indonesia? He re-joined the Air Force in 1945.
Thank you.
16. Melanie says:
24 Mar 2016 10:07:23 PM

How can I obtain my grandfather's records he was pilot in Dutch east indies and later a pow. Jan Willem Onink was his name
17. Anonymous says:
14 May 2016 07:13:12 AM

My dad fought and died for you sons a bitches. I just found out you sided with the Germans. I will never for give your that . My dad was a great man
18. nicole marie van kemenade says:
29 May 2016 10:13:33 PM

i like to find some details about both my parents who were nazi supporters in holland in the 2nd WW. They both died a long time ago. The "war subject" was taboo in our large family. I was born 7 years after the end of the war and when i gained awareness i realised that we were seen as "different" . There were 11 children and each one of us carried a burden somehow. There was no bonding in my family and alcohol played a large role in the death of 5 older siblings. until I was about 14 years old I did not know any of my extended family and once I did i felt like an alien among them. I know that many of my brothers and sisters felt the same. We lacked a sense of self and for most of us it was hard to "connect" and have a sense of belonging. My parents...Eugene van Kemenade and Anna van Kemenade Klep...fled into Germany (I believe they lived in either Milingen or Denekamp) where they were arrested. My dad spend 2 years in jail and my mother spend 12 months in a canadian POW camp...which could have been in Vucht? I have been unable to find any info about either...in regard to their crimes. I read that most collaborators were "let go off" after initial humiliation. So ive wondered for many years what was behind their sentences. I wonder if you could tell me where I could find any info about this. I have lived in Australia for 30 years now so have only online access to information. Thus far ive not been successful. Could you help me perhaps? Hope to hear from you...kindest regards Nici
19. Fred says:
20 Jun 2016 07:52:15 PM

Good Evening

Hopefully this will get something results.

My grandfather was a resistance during WW2 in holland, I have spent off letters over the years, trying to track down his medal or certificates without any positive results.

A couple of years ago, I had to take care of my grandparents place, in the process, I came across his marriage certificates, his passport, a picture of him with his resistance group, in there coveralls, beret with what appears to be some sort of cap badge, arm band and holding his smg machine gun.

I am still trying to locate any medals he might have received, my intent is to have it all framed and it beside my medals from service in the Canadian military.

Hopefully someone is able to help me out.

20. Michael Lenderink says:
24 Jun 2016 02:29:45 AM

Hi I would like to try and get some information about my Uncle Bernard Jacob Lenderink, I am travelling to Europe in September and October 2016 and would like to see if I can see his memorial and if there is a Department where I could more information about any of my relatives, Dad mover to Perth, Western Australia after WW2 and we don't know much about our relatives, Dad has passed away.
Michael Lenderink
21. Anonymous says:
14 Nov 2016 10:25:26 AM

researching Arie Gouwens dutch army prisoner of war- enlisted in 1939 from krimpen a/d ijsel died in 1946. any help welcomed
22. Jim McDonald says:
1 Feb 2017 08:24:10 PM

searching for details of Francois Rups, Dutch serviceman POW in Java and Singapore released 1947, then travelled to Australia, and perhaps his brothe Henri
23. Anonymous says:
3 Feb 2017 04:11:00 PM

how can I find out wheter my father was a member of the nsb party during worldwar 2 ?
24. Anonymous says:
18 Apr 2017 09:33:25 PM

I'm assisting a friend find information on his father who has passed away. We know he was in the military WW2 and believe he was captured and sent into a concentration camp, later to escape. Looking to find more information or where to obtain his military records. Help please, Thanks in advance.
25. Anonymous says:
21 Apr 2017 09:35:54 AM

Really helpful.
26. Linda says:
26 Apr 2017 03:55:16 AM

I am looking for my opa's military records. He was a pow in WW2 and worked on the railway fixing trains. He was taken from his home by the germans and worked in a german camp. If you could please let me know where to start looking. Thanks in advance.
27. Leon Gebbing says:
21 Jun 2017 10:32:38 PM

Looking for my father's military records. As a 18 he and his twin brother escaped from forced labour camp.He travelled somehow to France joined the Canadian army and after war subsequent ly Dutch army. Discharged 1949. Were do I look for information?
28. Anonymous says:
26 Oct 2017 04:43:26 AM

Trying to find out how, where, when my birth father either served or was taken by the germans and shot in March of 1945 in Rotterdam
29. Jan P says:
12 Nov 2017 11:00:56 AM

I am looking for any record of my mother who served as a registered nurse in a military hospital during ww2. Her name is Jannetje Vander Kooij born 9/22/1918.
Thank you
30. Anonymous says:
17 Jan 2018 11:34:00 AM

where is holland lol
31. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
18 Jan 2018 05:30:23 AM

To Anonymous of 17 Jan 2018: Holland is a historical region in the western portion of the Netherlands. That name is sometimes used to mean the entire country, a bit like how some people use the name England to mean the whole of United Kingdom.
32. Evan B. says:
18 Jan 2018 11:30:01 AM

To Jan P.

What country and regiment and or battalion did she serve in.
33. Graham says:
22 Jan 2018 01:23:55 PM

I'm looking for anybody who could give me, or lead me other sits for information about accounts of :
comandeard Barges. How used .
And previas owners scuttling or distroying there vesals. Ether ar the point of invasion or latter in Germany to help upset the German effort.
34. Anonymous says:
5 Mar 2018 07:51:25 AM

When was this article posted?
35. Kevin Jordan says:
5 Dec 2018 11:54:17 PM

I am looking for information on C.H. Vrede who died in WWII and whose name appears on a memorial in Durban, South Africa. . He is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.
36. Liesje Wagner says:
30 Sep 2019 09:22:47 PM

Where would I find a record of where my grandfather was taken as slave labor from The Hague in WW2?
37. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
30 Sep 2019 10:15:00 PM

Liesje Wagner (above):
Try the Dutch National Archives. After the war, people imprisoned by the Germans had their dossiers returned to the governments of their country of citizenship and most of those countries filed them in their National Archives.
38. Toni vanderzalm says:
20 Feb 2021 06:11:48 AM

My father PH Venninckx was in forced labour camp Hindenburg straat, barak3 lube 10, Hamburg 39 stadspark 11, my uncle Johannes Venninckx died bomb fell on him, my father survived ,
Can you give me some info, we have a letter from may 1943
39. Kendra van L. says:
1 Aug 2021 03:37:10 PM

My opa drove a tank in the dutch army shorty before the end of wwii. Where could i find more information about him?
40. Anonymous says:
26 Mar 2023 04:56:07 PM

My German grandfather was forced to leave Netherlands with his family in 1936. I’m looking for records to support information about where he lived..possibly Brunssum.

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Netherlands in World War II Photo Gallery
Japanese delegration member Koki Hirota at the second Hague Conference, the Netherlands, Jan 1930Do X aircraft in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Nov 1930
See all 142 photographs of Netherlands in World War II

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