Cold War conscientious objector in the Dutch Army

In 1987 Martin received a letter informing him of his conscription into the Dutch Army. A number of European NATO countries had conscription during the Cold War. Holland’s applied to men over the age of 18 and included service for about a year, after which you were placed on the reserve.


Martin objected to military service as a conscientious objector on religious grounds. Conscientious objectors could perform alternative civilian service instead of military service. However to get to be an official “conscientious objector” you had to pass multiple military courts and military procedures which was especially challenging for someone aged 17 years old.


Martin is very honest about his beliefs and his experiences. It was tough for him during the Cold War and he was seen by some as an enemy because he refused to bear arms to protect his country.

You may disagree with his views, but it’s a Cold War topic that is little covered elsewhere and I’m sure you will find my conversation with Martin as fascinating and powerful as I did.

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