They are happy with the government’s decision to relocate the Marine barracks in Doorn not to Vlissingen but to Nieuw Milligen near Apeldoorn by the military trade union AFMP. “The big advantage of this location is that it is close to the training grounds for defense,” says union official Arjen Rozendal.
Sources in The Hague confirm that the cabinet will announce this afternoon after the Council of Ministers that a definitive line will be drawn by Vlissingen as a new location for the barracks. It is feared that many Marines will stop if they have to go to Zeeland in the future.
“We have always been against moving to Zeeland,” Rozendal explains. “In Vlissingen you can clean your weapon and walk around. Nothing more. You can’t practice there.” Most Marines also live in the area of Doorn. “The permanent employees do not sleep in the barracks, but live in the neighborhood. They do not want to mess everything up to move to Zeeland.”
In 2012 it was decided that the current barracks should be closed and that the 1800 marines would be transferred to Vlissingen. The accommodation in Doorn was outdated and there was not enough room for new construction.
Because of its location at the sea, the province of Zeeland would be a perfect place for marines operating on the border of land and water. It was agreed that a new barracks would be built. 40 million euros have already been spent on preparations, such as the purchase and remediation of land, the relocation of a campsite and the construction of infrastructure.
“Marines practice in the Veluwe”
All military unions opposed the move to Vlissingen. “It would be capital destruction,” says Rozendal. “The man hours and travel costs that you would spend on traveling back and forth to the practice locations in the Veluwe. Really crazy.”
Shooting exercises, training with a helicopter, simulating an evacuation of people who are held hostage. “You do that on the moor, on the beach. On special training grounds,” says Rozendal.
In Vlissingen, a training building was to be built at the new barracks where the Marines could train. But that is the only added value according to the union manager. “For the rest you can do very little in Zeeland. You could practice in nature, but then you had to do it outside the breeding season. That is not workable.”