Nuclear Disarmament Netherlands

B61 nuclear weapon being

NATO Non-nuclear Weapon State
Sharing US Nuclear Weapons

Estimated Arsenal Size

  • 10-20 U.S. non-strategic gravity B-61 warheads
    at the Volkel Air Base [1]

Weapons System

  • Non-strategic warheads: B-61-3, B-61-4 [2]
  • Delivery Aircraft: Dutch F-16 A/B


  • The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is currently modernizing the non-strategic warheads deployed in Europe. NNSA is refurbishing and replacing components of the aging B-61-3 and B-61-4 warheads, converting them into the updated B61-12 model. Under NNSA’s B61-12 Life Extension Plan, the updated warheads will enter full production in 2020 and be deployed by 2024. [3] The Netherlands is planning to buy the nuclear-capable F35-A Joint Strike Fighter from the United States, which will begin replacing existing NATO aircraft in 2024. [4]

Estimated Destructive Force

  • B-61-3: maximum yield of 170 kilotons
  • B-61-4: 45 kilotons [5]

Nuclear Weapons Related Policies

  • In the 2018 Brussels Summit, NATO reaffirmed that the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear forces is deterrence, and that as long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. [6]
  • The Netherlands is a member of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), a group of non-nuclear weapon states dedicated to disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful nuclear activities as outlined in the NPT and the 2010 NPT Review Conference. [7]
  • The Netherlands, a NATO country hosting U.S. nuclear weapons, does not support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Although it was the only NATO member to participate in the treaty negotiations, the Netherlands voted against its adoption because it believes U.S. nuclear weapons are essential to the country’s security. [8]

Treaty Commitments

[1] Hans M. Kristensen, "Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No. 3," Federation of American Scientists, May 2012,
[2] Hans M. Kristensen, "Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No. 3," Federation of American Scientists, May 2012,
[3] United States Government Accountability Office, NNSA Has a New Approach to Managing the B-61-12 Life Extension, but a Constrained Schedule and Other Risks Remain, GAO-16-218, February 2016, pp. 10-25,
[4] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "U.S. Nuclear Forces, 2014," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70, No. 1, January 2014, 85-93.
[5] Hans M. Kristensen, "U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe," Natural Resources Defense Council, February 2005, p. 9,
[6] "The Alliance's New Strategic Concept," NATO, 24 April 1999,; "NATO Summit Guide, Brussels 2018,” NATO, 11 July 2018,
[7] "NPDI Statement for 2015 NPT Review Conference," Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 27 April 2015,
[8] “Positions on the treaty,” International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, 7 July 2017,
[9] "Country Profiles: Netherlands," Reaching Critical Will, accessed 7 July 2015,; "Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water," United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, accessed 7 July 2015,

January 2, 2019
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The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.


This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.