The Navy medal was instituted for those who served in the Royal Netherlands Navy (including the Royal Netherlands Marines) in operational circumstances during a prolonged stretch of time. At start only those who served for at least 6 months in STANAVFORLANT/STANAVFORMED or The Netherlands Antilles could recieve the medal. These terms were considered to be far from "operational" by those whos served on ships and in airplanes during peace-missions and during strenuous exercises. The conditions were therefore extended to operational service in general for more than 72 months, These conditions made it a very common medal. After the Navy in 1985 all other military arms followed with their operational service medals:
There are two types of this medal, the one on the left and a far less well produced one with soft edges and soft print. the second type is, regrettably standard issue since 2005.