After the full liberation of the Netherlands in 1945, the country set its eyes on regaining control over its large colony in Asia, which had declared independence as Indonesia in August 1945. Until the end of 1949, the Dutch tried, but eventually yielded under Indonesian and international pressure.
During this time, the Army was mostly equipped with surplus British and Canadian materiel, but with the end of the colonial war, from 1950, a complete rebuild of the army began with US military assistance (MDAP) and the Netherlands became truly embroiled in the Cold War. In 1949, it was one of the founding members of NATO and until 1991, the defense policy was shaped in light of the threat posed by the Soviet Union.
Actual deployments were relatively rare during this time, with a few exceptions being the Korean War and the UN missions in Lebanon.
During the Cold War era, the Netherlands fielded the largest armored vehicle fleet in its history. Starting with the MDAP material, the fleet expanded with AMX light tanks, artillery, and armored personnel carriers. Then came the M113 and its many derivatives, heavy armored self-propelled-guns, later the YPR-765 and the PRTL Cheetah. Additionally, the Dutch manufacturer DAF built the 8×6 YP-408.
The main tank fleet of the Netherlands began with old Sherman and Ram tanks. These were first replaced with the British Centurion which were joined by the first Leopard 1 tanks in 1969. Furthermore, in 1983, the Leopard 2 was introduced, allowing the remaining Centurions to be retired.