Royal Marechaussee

Royal Military Constabulary[1]
Koninklijke Marechaussee
Abbreviation KMar

Logo of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee
Motto Zonder vrees en zonder blaam
Without fear and without dishonour
Agency overview
Formed November 26, 1814
Employees 6,000
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
National agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
Governing body Ministry of Defence (Netherlands)
Constituting instrument Royal Decree of 1954
General nature
Specialist jurisdictions
  • National border patrol, security, and integrity.
  • Protection of international or domestic VIPs, protection of significant state asseets.
Operational structure
Headquarters The Hague
Agency executive Luitenant-Generaal Harry van den Brink, Commandant

The Koninklijke Marechaussee, the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee, abbreviated to KMar (English is Royal Marshals, but commonly seen as Royal Military Constabulary), is one of the four Services of the armed forces of the Netherlands. It is a gendarmerie force performing military police and civil police duties.


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. 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).

A Marechaussee van

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).

On July 5, 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 the present 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 Dutch Military Police 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.[2]


The Grenade

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

Prime minister Mark Rutte (center) visits members of the marechaussee at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Members of the marechaussee at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit
Members of the marechaussee escort victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

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.


See Military ranks of the Dutch armed forces



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. "Policing in the Netherlands" (PDF). January 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2012.
  2. "Dutch military police in Ukraine to investigate flight MH17". BBC NEWS. 26 July 2014.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Koninklijke Marechaussee.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.