CAMP HOHNE, LOHHEIDE, Germany -- The Royal Netherlands Army's 43rd Mechanized Brigade with the 1st Panzer Division of the German Army came together during a formal ceremony, March 17, to mark the initial integration of the two units.

This past Fall, the Ministers of Defense for both the Netherlands and Germany, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Ursula von der Leyen, signed formal agreements announcing intentions to integrate more of their armed forces with the goal of enhancing cooperation in support of European security.

The formal agreement, which was signed Sept. 2015, set the framework for the integration of the 43rd Mechanized Brigade and 1st Panzer Division.

Several hundred guests came to witness this historic event, including members of the German and Dutch defense committees.

In attendance were also various allied and partner nation military representatives, most notably: Brig. Gen. Phillip Jolly, British Brig. Gen. Ian Bell and Dutch Maj. Gen. Martin Wijnen.

Jolly, director of the U.S. Army Europe's Army Reserve Engagement Cell, represented U.S. Army Europe at the ceremony.

Speeches highlighted the necessity for building relationships and interoperability among their respective armed forces. Additionally, speakers cited NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's statement that "together" NATO allies and partners need to practice both "diplomacy and deterrence" when facing European security challenges.

"We are convinced that in the future will need more powerful, more responsive and efficient land forces to deter potential aggressors," said German Lt. Gen. Jörg Vollmer, Inspector of the German Army. "This is part of a peace and stability-oriented foreign policy. This needs ready-to-use armed forces."

The formal ceremony, marking this historic event, was presided over by Vollmer and Dutch Lt. Gen. Mart de Kruif, Inspector of the Land Forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

German Maj. Gen. Johann Langenneger, commander of the 1st Panzer Division, instructed the parade, roll-call, and pass-in-review with commands being given almost exclusively in English. The only exception being, for traditions sake, the commands given in Dutch by the Kingdom of the Netherlands color guard.

The ceremony concluded with a reception hosted by Vollmer and de Kruif.

The unit is scheduled to become fully operational by the end of 2019.

--

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned in its 51 country area of responsibility to advance American strategic interests in Europe and Eurasia. The relationships we build during more than 1,000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships and enhance global security.