The four defense museums show the past, present and future of the armed forces. We tell about the wars of the past, today’s peace missions and the story of the men and women who serve in conflict situations on behalf of the Netherlands. This is important because war and conflict are inextricably linked to the world we live in and therefore to us.


The armed forces fulfil an important core task of the Dutch government. For the social legitimacy of the armed forces – and for the motivation of the men and women who work there – it is necessary that a large part of society is aware of the importance of an armed force and can form an opinion about the way the armed forces carry out their tasks.

How did the armed forces originate and how do they protect us and others in times of war and uncertainty? The four defense museums demonstrate this by offering a window on the past, present and future developments of the armed forces.

We want to touch the hearts and minds of the members of the public by:

  • Making emotions of service personnel such as camaraderie, courage, dedication and fear palpable;
  • Showing that making choices is a necessity;
  • Showing that the mere threat of the use of arms can be instrumental in keeping the peace;
  • Enabling visitors to feel, smell, taste and hear what it means to work for peace and security;
  • Shedding light on the mutual impact of the armed forces on society from multiple angles.

We are endeavouring to deliver a ‘transformative experience’, which means that visiting one of the Defence museums may change the way members of the public think about the armed forces.


The Marechaussee Museum has a special history. In 1936 the Historical Museum of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee was opened in Apeldoorn. After the war, the museum moved to The Hague and then to Rotterdam. Since 1972, the Marechaussee Museum has been located in Buren in a former Royal Orphanage.