Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019


The Kingdom of the Netherlands signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 12 April 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 October 1999. The government announced a unilateral ban on mine use in March 1996. The Netherlands believes that existing legislation is sufficient to enforce the antipersonnel mine prohibition domestically.

The Netherlands was appointed as the co-rapporteur of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education, and Mine Action technologies at the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November–December 2011. In the past, the Netherlands served on the Standing Committees on Mine Clearance (1999–2001, 2013), General Status and Operation of the Convention (2002–2004), Mine Clearance, Mine Risk Education and Mine Action Technologies (2012), Enhancement of Cooperation and Assistance (2015–2016), and Article 5 Implementation (2017–2018).

The Netherlands regularly attends meetings of the treaty, including the Third Review Conference in Maputo in June 2014. More recently, the Netherlands attended the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it made statements on cooperative compliance, stockpile destruction, and financial status of the convention, among other topics.[1] The Netherlands also attended the intersessional meetings of the treaty in Geneva in June 2019.

The Netherlands is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons and its Amended Protocol II on landmines and Protocol V on explosive remnants of war. It is also party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Production, use, transfer, and stockpiling

The Netherlands is a former antipersonnel mine producer and importer. After World War II, the Netherlands developed its own arms industry to lessen the dependency of the Dutch army on weapon imports. Various ammunition factories produced landmines, including antipersonnel mines, and the greater part of Dutch stocks of landmines was produced domestically. One of the main producers of landmines was Eurometaal, one-third of which was owned by the Dutch government.[2] According to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense, production of landmines was stopped by 1979.[3] Three types of mines were produced: the Model AP 23 bounding mine, Model AP 22 (“Inkstand”) non-metallic blast mine, and Model 15 non-metallic, blast (box) mine.[4]

While there are no known instances of Dutch exports of antipersonnel mines, some assume that it exported antipersonnel mines in the past.[5] Until the beginning of the 1990s, the Netherlands tried to sell its surplus landmines; it is not clear if they were successful.

The Netherlands has imported mines from the United States (US), Germany, and perhaps other nations. The US shipped 630 M18A1 Claymore mines in 1984–1986, and 5,984 Gator AP mines in 1991 in a $14.58 million deal.[6]

Between 1996 and 2002 the Netherlands destroyed its stockpile of 254,798 antipersonnel mines. The Netherlands initially retained 4,076 mines for training and development purposes. In its report for calendar year 2017, the Netherlands reported that it retained 974 mines at the end of 2017.[7] In its report for calendar year 2018, the Netherlands reported the destruction of 77 mines in 2018, but did not provide an updated number of mines retained.[8]

[1] Statement of the Netherlands, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 29 November 2018; statement of the Netherlands, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 30 November 2018; and statement of the Netherlands, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 30 November 2018.

[2] Platform tegen Wapenhandel, Nederlandse wapenhandel in de Jaren ’90 (Dutch Arms Trade in the Nineties) (Stichting Uitgeverij Papieren Tijger, 1998), p. 39.

[3] Telephone conversation with a representative of the Ministry of Defense in January 1999.

[4] Eddie Banks, Antipersonnel Mines: Recognizing and Disarming (London: Brassey’s, 1997) pp. 161–163.

[5] Telephone conversations with a representative of the Ministry of Defense, Pieter van Rossem of Pax Christi Netherlands and Martin Broek of the Anti-Militaristic Research Collective (AMOK) in January 1999.

[6] US Defense Security Assistance Agency, “Foreign Military Sales of Antipersonnel Mines, as of 8/11/93.” See also, Human Rights Watch, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy, p. 73.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 2018.

[8] Ibid., 2019.