Dutch cabinet plans to let military soldiers in uniform travel by train for free

Dutch political party VVD wants to push for free train travel for every soldier in military uniform — and plans to present this with the defence budget later today.

In Germany, military soldiers have been given the opportunity to travel by train for free since 2020. 

Now, the Dutch finally want to jump on the bandwagon and offer its own comrade-in-arms the same benefit.

The VVD’s strategy

“This is good for the recognition, visibility, and appreciation of our soldiers,” Dutch politician of the VVD, Peter Valstar, tells RTL Nieuws

Like many businesses in the Netherlands, the Dutch armed forces are facing a shortage of personnel and have been looking for ways to attract more people.

picture-of-dutch-military-soldiers-in-uniform-walking-on-road-in-netherlands
Dutch military soldiers are falling in number, and a solution is needed. Image: Depositphotos

Fortunately, the VVD has a solution: If soldiers are offered free train travel, they’ll make an appearance in and around train stations in the Netherlands more often. 

The cabinet hopes that more youngsters will see these soldiers in uniform and be inclined to join the army in the future. 

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“Defence has a big challenge, ten thousand vacancies. And that number is only increasing. I hope that the visibility of uniforms will also make young boys and girls look up to soldiers and think: I want that too later”, Valstar tells RTL Nieuws.

Other parties are more or less in agreement

Several Dutch political parties have shown interest in the VVD’s plan, stating that they’re in favour of having more military personnel seen in public.

However, most want to see further elaboration and substantiation before offering their full support.

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“I want the minister to consult with the Dutch Railways about whether that is also practical and feasible here,” Valstar explains to RTL Nieuws.

While the majority believe the plan to be a sympathetic one, it also stirred thoughts that others on a low-income budget, like teachers, would want free train travel too. 

READ MORE | Train between Amsterdam and London saved: will more than double capacity in future

Left-wing parties, like SP and PvdA, agree. They’re against the decision to offer free train travel solely to military personnel — believing that it should be free for larger groups too.

What do you think about the plan to give Dutch military soldiers free train travel? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Gaelle Salem
Gaelle Salem
Born and raised on the island of Sint Maarten, Gaelle moved to the Netherlands in 2018 to attend university. Still trying to survive the erratic Dutch wind and rain, she has taken up the hobby of buying a new umbrella every month. You can probably find her in the centre of The Hague appreciating the Dutch architecture with a coffee in one hand and a slice of appeltaart in the other.

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