Defence-to-GDP ratio down

24/09/2009 15:00

In 2008, public expenditure on defence totalled 8.2 billion euro, i.e. 1.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), as against 1.5 percent five years ago and 1.8 percent a decade ago.

Public expenditure on defence

Public expenditure on defence

Per capita defence expenditure 500 euro

The Netherlands spent 500 euro per resident on defence last year, as against 421 in 2000. This is an increase by 18.5 percent, i.e. below the inflation rate over the same period.

Government spending per military branch, 2008

Government spending per military branch, 2008

One billion euro for Afghanistan

Last year, the Netherlands spent 428 million euro on foreign military aid, twice as much as in 2003. Two thirds of defence expenditure over 2008 has to do with the Dutch contribution to the military mission in Afghanistan. Engagement in operations to safeguard peace and stability in Europe required 26 million euro. The UN contribution amounts 100 million euro.

The Dutch mission in Afghanistan cost nearly 1 billion euro over the period 2002–2008. Participation in this mission is the largest operation of the Dutch armed forces in the past two decades. A large chunk of the amount is earmarked for special allowances and compensation amounts for the military, transport, food, ammunition and military equipment (including the costs related to deployment of F-16 fighter planes). Altogether, some 2,000 military staff are deployed in Afghanistan, of whom nearly 1,400 in the province of Uruzgan.

Public spending on foreign military aid, 2008*

Public spending on foreign military aid, 2008*

Major staff cuts

By the end of 2008, the Dutch Ministry of Defence employed nearly 61 thousand persons on a full-time basis, 11.1 thousand down on the end of 2002. Civilian and military personnel were reduced by 20 and 13 percent respectively over the same period. The reduction was the result of a reorganisation process, but also a reduced interest among the population to make a career in the military. In the past six months, more people seem to be interested in an army career, presumably also on account of the economic recession.

Fred Arkesteijn