Dutch commandos win 'beret battle'
25 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Bowing to pressure from commando troops who claimed their green beret was a unique status symbol, the Royal Dutch Army has agreed to scrap its green berets in favour of a different colour.
25 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Bowing to pressure from commando troops who claimed their green beret was a unique status symbol, the Royal Dutch Army has agreed to scrap its green berets in favour of a different colour.
The Army only started wearing the green berets about a year ago, but Lieutenant General Marcel Urlings has ordered his 24,000 soldiers to start wearing a blue-green beret by September.
The Dutch commando unit, KCT, was bitterly opposed to regular troops wearing the green beret. But it lost a court battle at the end of 2003 to prevent the distribution of the new berets to every soldier.
At that time, the deciding factor was the Defence Ministry's argument that the green of a normal soldier's beret was sufficiently distinguishable from the type worn by members of the commando unit. The KCT said there was not enough of a difference.
The ministry has now admitted the error. "The colour difference appeared in reality not to be as evident as expected. Particularly outside in the full light the army beret is difficult to distinguish from those of the commandos," a ministry statement said.
The Save the Green Beret Foundation welcomed the ministry's decision on Friday. The late Prince Bernhard — who was the commander of the Dutch military in World War II — was also in favour of the maintaining the exclusiveness of the commando beret.
Replacing the army's green beret will now cost EUR 200,000. But military chiefs and Defence State Secretary Cees van der Knaap said the cost was outweighed by the need to end unrest within the military.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news