The Dutch approach to demining

When war ends, concealed mines and abandoned cluster munitions pose a grave threat to public safety. The Netherlands donates €13.6 million annually for demining operations in former conflict zones.

The Netherlands’ contribution to demining programmes

It is estimated that, worldwide, there are between 30 million and 300 million landmines in the ground. They cause tremendous personal and economic suffering. They also render large tracts of land unusable for building and agriculture, so large numbers of people have to be accommodated in reception camps for unnecessarily long periods of time. Demining access routes and populated areas actively promotes a country’s economic and social recovery.

The Dutch government provides funding for a number of demining programmes that meet the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS). Their activities include:

  • reducing the risks for people living near a minefield;
  • investigating the location and size of minefields, and marking and clearing them;
  • giving emergency aid to landmine victims and helping with their rehabilitation and reintegration into the community;
  • monitoring the quality of all these demining activities.

It is no longer possible to apply for a grant for a demining programme

Ottawa Convention: banning landmines

In 1999, 122 countries signed the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines.

Countries that receive Dutch grants must sign, ratify and comply with the Ottawa Convention. Their authorities must also help with demining.

In some circumstances, however, the Netherlands gives grants for demining in countries that do not meet these requirements. These include countries without a recognised central authority where demining is urgently need.