Royal Marechaussee

One of the services of the armed forces of the Netherlands
  • Royal Decree of 1954
General nature
  • Gendarmerie
Specialist jurisdictions
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
  • Protection of international or domestic VIPs, protection of significant state assets.
Operational structureHeadquartersThe HagueMilitary personnels6,606  (2021)[1]Civil servants746  (2021)[1]Agency executive
  • Luitenant-Generaal Hans Leijtens, Commandant
Parent agencyMinistry of

The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Dutch: Koninklijke Marechaussee, abbreviated to KMar) is the national gendarmerie force of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, performing military and civilian police duties. It is also one of the two national police forces in the Netherlands, alongside the National Police, and is one of the four branches of the Netherlands Armed Forces.[2]


A Marechaussee detachment at Wijchen in 1938

The Corps de Maréchaussée was created by King William I to replace the French Gendarmerie on October 26, 1814. The word gendarmerie had gained a negative connotation, so William called the new force "marechaussée" (he forgot the first acute accent in the document). Maréchaussée is an alternate French word for gendarmerie. In the French historical context, "Maréchaussée" had been the force's name under the Royal Ancien Regime, while the term "gendarmerie" had been adopted by the French Revolution - making the Royalist term preferable for the Dutch King.

At that time, the Marechaussee was a part of the army (landmacht). The Marechaussee was tasked with maintaining public order, law enforcement, and safeguarding the main roads. Although not specifically mentioned, this included police duties for the army. As such, the Marechaussee was part of the national police (rijkspolitie).

The Marechaussee was the only police force in many small municipalities, such as Venlo, especially in the southern provinces of Limburg and North Brabant (former Generality Lands).

In 1908, Queen Wilhelmina assigned the Marechaussee the task of guarding the royal palaces, which had previously been done by gardeners. To this day, guarding a palace is called "klompendienst" (clog service).

After Kristallnacht in November 1938, the Dutch government officially closed its borders to any Jewish refugees. The Dutch Marechaussee border guards searched for them and returned any found to Germany, despite the horrors of Kristallnacht being well known.[3] In 1939 Nicholas Winton succeeded with his Kindertransport, thanks to the guarantees he had obtained from Britain. After the first train, the process of crossing the Netherlands went smoothly.[4]

On 5 July 1940, the German occupation government merged the Marechaussee with the rijksveldwacht and the gemeenteveldwacht. This meant that the Marechaussee lost its military status and the predicate Royal. These changes did not apply to the Marechaussee outside occupied Dutch territory. About 200 marechaussees guarded the Royal Family and the Dutch government-in-exile, and provided military police services to the Princess Irene Brigade, a brigade formed in the United Kingdom, consisting of Dutchmen.

After World War II, the Marechaussee was split into a Korps Rijkspolitie (National Police Corps) (as a replacement of the rijksveldwacht and the gemeenteveldwacht) and the Royal Marechaussee, which regained its military status. The main tasks for the Marechaussee since then have been border protection, military police and guard duties.

On July 3, 1956, Princess Beatrix became patroness of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee.

In 1994, the national and municipal police forces were merged into 25 regional police forces and the Korps landelijke politiediensten (National Police Services Agency). The National Police transferred its airport police and security tasks (primarily Schiphol) to the Marechaussee.

In 1998, the Marechaussee became a separate Service within the armed forces.

In 2014, a team of 40 Marechausee officers went to eastern Ukraine to assist the investigation into the shooting down of Malaysian airliner MH17. They provided security for the international team and assistance in collecting evidence from the crash site.[5]


The emblem of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee is, as with many other gendarmerie forces, a flaming grenade. In the 17th century, a new weapon was introduced in Europe: the hand grenade. The soldiers who handled grenades were called grenadiers. They became an elite type of soldier in all European armies. In France, the grenade symbol was adopted by the gendarmerie, and this was imitated by similar forces throughout Europe.

The flaming grenade (but in this case within an eight-pointed star) was also the emblem of the Rijkspolitie.

Present KMar

Members of the Marechaussee escorting victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17
Marechaussee patrol car and officers

The present marechaussee is a police organisation with a military status, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, but mostly working for the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. The RNLM performs the following duties:

The first four units are territorial, other two have national rather than regional responsibilities.

The AthenA, mobile command and interrogation room


The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee wants to define its tasks better so that tasks can be carried out in a targeted manner. The KMar also wants to be deployed more as a team, in the future and to avoid having to operate as an individual. At the same time it wants to operate better through automation and the purchase of new systems, especially with regard to ICT and tactical deployment of vehicles/boats and aircraft.[6]

The purchase of new equipment is also part of this, including the GBB (Armed Civil Aviation Security) and the HRB (High Risk Security) are getting new Baltic vests.[7] The YPR-765 is also being replaced with the Iveco Medium Tactical Vehicle. Dutch Defense Vehicles (DDV) is also working on a mobile command post and a mobile interrogation room, both based on the Iveco Daily. DDV calls these vehicles AthenA.[8]


Officer ranks
NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
Royal Marechaussee[9]
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Nl-marechausee-luitenant generaal.svg Nl-marechausee-generaal majoor.svg Nl-marechausee-brigade generaal.svg Nl-marechaussee-kolonel.svg Nl-marechaussee-luitenant kolonel.svg Nl-marechaussee-majoor.svg Nl-marechaussee-kapitein.svg Nl-marechaussee-eerste luitenant.svg Nl-marechaussee-tweede luitenant.svg Netherlands-Marechaussee-OF-D.svg
Luitenant-generaal Generaal-majoor Brigade-generaal Kolonel Luitenant-kolonel Majoor Kapitein Eerste-luitenant Tweede-luitenant Kornet
Other ranks
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Royal Marechaussee[9]
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Nl-marechaussee-adjudant onderofficier.svg
Nl-marechaussee-opperwachtmeester.svg Nl-marechaussee-wachtmeester der 1e klasse.svg Nl-marechaussee-wachtmeester.svg Nl-marechaussee-marechaussee der 1e klasse.svg Nl-marechaussee-marechaussee der 2e klasse.svg Nl-marechaussee-marechaussee der 3e klasse.svg Nl-marechaussee-marechaussee der 4e klasse.svg
Adjudant Opperwachtmeester Wachtmeester der 1e klasse Wachtmeester Marechaussee der 1e klasse Marechaussee der 2e klasse Marechaussee der 3e klasse Marechaussee der 4e klasse

Cadet ranks at the Royal Military Academy

NATO code OF(D) Student officer
OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-1
5th year 4th year 3rd year 2nd year 1st year
Royal Marechaussee Netherlands-Marechaussee-OF-D.svg Netherlands-Marechaussee-Student-OR-5.svg Netherlands-Marechaussee-Student-OR-4.svg Netherlands-Marechaussee-Student-OR-3.svg Netherlands-Marechaussee-Student-OR-1.svg
Kornet Cadet Wachtmeester Cadet Marechaussee der 1e klasse Cadet Marechaussee der 2e klasse Cadet Marechaussee der 4e klasse
2 marechaussee guards protecting the Dutch Crown Jewels



In the course of time the two acute accents of the French spelling (Maréchaussée) were dropped. The lowest ranking personnel are referred to as marechaussees (without the capital M), a rank comparable to lance corporal and corporal.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Aantallen personeel". (in Dutch). 1 July 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Policing in the Netherlands none" (PDF). January 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2012.
  3. ^ de Jong, Dr. L, "part 1", Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog [A Chronicle of the Netherlands in the World War] (in Dutch)
  4. ^ "Sir Nicholas Winton: How One Man Saved So Many Lives". Flashbak. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Dutch military police in Ukraine to investigate flight MH17". BBC News. 26 July 2014.
  6. ^ "KMar Futureproof - 01 - KMarMagazine". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  7. ^ "Nieuwe uitrusting voor HRB en GBB - 03 - KMarMagazine". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  8. ^ "AthenA". DMV4x4 Dutch Military Vehicles (in Dutch). Retrieved 2022-08-06.
  9. ^ a b "De rangonderscheidingstekens van de krijgsmacht" (PDF) (in Dutch). Ministry of Defence (Netherlands). 19 December 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2021.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Koninklijke Marechaussee.
  • Marechaussee information on the Defence Ministry website (in English)
  • Official Marechaussee website (in Dutch)
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Partners and observers