Belgian and Luxemburgian
Forces in Korea

The Netherlands' Forces in Korea : the NDVN

Nederlands Detachement Verenigde Naties
Haar Nederlandse Majesteit Schip
Vereniging Oud Korea Strijders
Netherlands Detachment United Nations
Her Netherlands Majesty's Ship
Union of Old Korea Fighters

The Korean war began with North Korean forces crossing the 38th parallel into South Korea on June 25th 1950. The United Nations Security Council condemned the invasion and called on it's member states to come to the assistance of invaded South Korea. The Netherlands reacted promptly, ordering it's navy destroyer HNLMS EVERTSEN, at that time stationed at Soerabaja (Indonesia) to head for Korean waters. From July 1950 to January 1955, the Netherlands' Navy was represented by a warship in Korean waters; a total of 1350 Netherlands navy po\ersonnel served in Korean waters.

As the North Korean navy was destroyed early in the war, more important were troops fighting on land. The NDVN or VAN HEUTSZ BATTALION was established on Oct. 15th 1950, enlisting only volunteer soldiers. On Oct. 26th it departed for Korea, arriving on Nov. 23rd where they were attached to the 8th U.S. army. The detachment consisted of a staff, a staff company, two rifle companies and an auxiliary company. In May 1951, a third rifle company was added. A small liaison group was stationed in Yokohama, Japan.
The NDVN saw it's most important action in February 1951, when, stationed in HOENGSONG VALLEY, it was supposed to cover the retreat of the 2nd U.S. infantry division. Suddenly, the NDVN was attacked by Chinese volunteer soldiers disguised as regular South Korean soldiers. The commander of the NDVN, Lt.Col. MARINUS P.A. DEN OUDEN, was among the first victims. Although casualties were high, the NDVN was able to hold on to the valley until the 2nd U.S. infantry division had completed their retreat. The NDVN was awared the Distinguished Unit Citation by U,S. president Harry S. Truman for their actions at Hoengsong Valley.
In April-July 1952 the NDVN, attached to the 2nd U.S. infantry division, participated in the repulsion of the 2nd Chinese spring offensive at HONGCHON, for which it was awarded it/s second DUC.
The NDVN stayed in Korea until October 1954. A total of 158 officers and 3.192 troops have fought in Korea, 120 of whom were killed in action, 3 were reported missing in action and one P.O.W.
According to another Dutch statistic, the number of Dutchmen who served in the NDVN in Korea totalled 3.972, among them 2 from the Netherlands' Antilles, 73 from Netherlands' New Guinea and 115 from Suriname - the Netherlands still had colonies.

A stamp issued by the Republic of Korea in 1951
commemorating the involvement of Dutch volunteers in the Korean War

In the Netherlands, a monument reminds of the NDVN, at SCHAARSBERGEN in the Oranjekazerne (Orange Barracks), where also a museal collection of memorabilia of the Infantry Regiment van Heutsz, to which the NDVN belonged, is kept.
A number of the Dutch soldiers who fell in Korea are nuried at the U.N. cemetery at Pusan. In Korea the monument dedicated to the NDVN is located at SAEMAL highway exit, along the highway connecting Suwon with Kangnung, in Hoengsong Valley. The monument, reminiscent of a windmill, is easily visible from the highway.

The Dutch Forces in Korea monument
at Saemal, Hoengsong-Kun,
Kangwon Province, South Korea

Photos courtesy of Mr. Oh, Yeon Jung,
Math teacher at KMLA

The Dutch language inscription translates to :
Valiant fighters, who acted in the spirit
of the Prince of Orange,
and were filled with loyalty,
768 of them fell or were wounded
in the struggle against the red invaders
to their determined fight
this monument is dedicated
Note : The Prince of Orange refers to William the Silent,
the first stadholder of the United Netherlands 1572-1584.

2nd U.S. Infantry Division, Korean War History : Wonju and Chipyong-ni
Homepage of Website van de Evertsen, in Dutch
DOCUMENTS Elie van Schilt, Dutch Volunteers fighting in the Korean War, an account of the NDVN Battalion's history in 20 chapters, trsl. into English
Korean War Maps : Battle for Hoengsong, 11-13 February 1951, Chipyong-ni, 13-14 February 1951, Defending the Wonju Line, from the U.S. Center for Military History
26. Juni 1950 : Noord Korea valt Zuid Korea binnen (North Korea invades South Korea), article in NRC (Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant); first newspaper; clock on 250-600 kb file to view full text (in Dutch)
Payments to military personnel of United Nations Netherlands Battalion (NDVN), posted by MPC (W.C.M. Smit)
REFERENCES J. Voskuil, Dutch Forces in Korea Mail, in : Woopyo Sehgeh No.17, 1995, pp.30-34
De hete oorlog in Korea (hot war in Korea), in : Met de blik naar het oosten. De koninklijke landmacht (Looking eastward. The royal (Netherlands') army), 1945-1990, pp.70-75
J.D. Coleman, Wonju. The Gettysburg of the Korean War, Washington : Brassey's 2000
M.D. Schaafsma, Het Nederlands Detachement Verenigde Naties in Korea 1950-1954 (The Netherlands Detachment United Nations in Korea), s'Gravenhage : V.O.K.S. (1960) reprint 2000, 477 pp.

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 9th 2005

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