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Draft Suspended

1 February 1996
BG A14/463

On 1 February 1996 the compulsory attendance for the Dutch Army was suspended. In fact, this put an end to the draft, and with it, removed the need for conscientious objection. The first Dutch political conscientious objector had reported exactly one hundred years before. Johan van der Veer was a vegetarian, teetotaller, socialist, and admirer of Tolstoy. When he was called up for military service in August 1896, he refused. This 'subversive act' caused a lot of fuss in the conservative press. Later on Van der Veer would settle in England, and during the First World War he was a passionate advocate of participation in the war.