A onetime Dutch Prime Minister in a recent interview confirmed the widespread assumption that his country houses 22 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons and he criticized their continued presence so many years after the end of the Cold War, Agence France-Presse reported.
"If you go to Volkel now, we still have 'parts' that fulfill a nuclear function," said Ruud Lubbers, who led the Dutch government from 1982 to 1994, in an interview for a National Geographic documentary that aired on Saturday. He was referring to the Volkel air force installation in the southeastern part of the country where, as a young ensign in 1963, he helped to camouflage the presence of U.S. gravity bombs.
"I'm wondering why those crazy things are still there, because I think it's absolutely senseless," said Lubbers, becoming the most senior ex-Dutch official to acknowledge the weapons' presence.
Nearly 200 U.S. B-61 gravity bombs are understood to be fielded at six military bases in NATO member states Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey as a hold-over from the Cold War.