In 2003, the then State Secretary for Defence, Cees van der Knaap, decided to launch a Netherlands Veterans’ Day. The purpose of the Netherlands Veterans’ Day is to enable the public to recognise and show its appreciation for veterans. To achieve this purpose, the day is publicised widely through the media and as many components of the programme as possible are made accessible to the public. The Netherlands Veterans’ Day is held annually on the last Saturday in June. This is on or close to the birthday of the late HRH Prince Bernhard (29 June), who had a special bond with veterans.