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During World War II (WWII), the Ordedienst, 1 or OD, was one of three 2 important clandestine resistance organisations in The Netherlands. It was established in 1940 with the intent to act as an interim law-enforcement service in the case of a sudden retreat of the German occupant. In practice however, the OD mainly provided intelligence to the Dutch Government in London (UK).

Cloth band to be worn by members of the OD immediately after the libaration of the Netherlands

The OD was established in 1940 at the initiative of Johan Hendrik Westerveld [2]. It was formed by merging the activities of several (local) resistance organisations that had emerged in the country since the outbreak of the war. It had 19 discricts that were largely independent. Although many of the OD members had a military background, the organisation had a non-military signature [7].

  1. Literally translated: Order Service.
  2. The other two being Raad van Verzet (RVV) and Landelijke Knokploegen (LKP).

OD items on this website
Whaddon Mk V spy radio set (La Paracette)
Whaddon Mk VII spy radio set (Paraset)
The UK Type 36/1 (MCR-1)
The famous Type 3 Mark II, also known as the B2
The UK Type A Mk. III (A3)
Full duplex UHF radio for resistance communication and air droppings
Homemade OD transmitters and receivers
Poem Code used by the Ordedienst (OD)
At the time (1940), the general opinion was that the war wouldn't last very long, and that the country might suffer from a power vacuum, in case of a sudden retreat by the Germans. Should this indeed happen, the OD regarded it their task to act as an interim law-enforcement service until the Dutch government had returned and the official enforcement services had been restored.

Contact with London
It soon became clear however, that the idea of a post-war Order Service was not very realistic, after which the OD transformed itself into a resistance organisation, for example by sabotaging (German) railway and communications networks. More importantly however, the OD concentrated on the collection of intelligence in the occupied country, which was then sent via clandestine radio networks to the Dutch Government – including Queen Wilhelmina – in exile in London (UK).

The headquarters of the organisation, known as AHK-OD, and was initially located in The Hague, the administrative capital of the country. After several setbacks — the Germans arrested many OD members — the OD was reorganised in 1942 and came under control of reserve captain jhr. Pieter Jacob Six (1894-1986), who moved the AHK-OD to Amsterdam (the actual capital). [11].

The first radio link between the OD and London was established by Allard Oosterhuis – a GP in Delfzijl 1 – of the resistance group 't Zwaantje, who obtained a spy radio set via Sweden [1]. 2
British Mk-5 (Paracette) suitcase transceiver

The radio set – most likely an Mk V – had been supplied by the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). In August 1943, the Dutch Minister of War decided that Bureau Inlichtingen (BI) – the Dutch intelligence service in London – would be solely responsible for all intelligence exchange between The Netherlands and the Government in exile. A number of BI agents were dropped over the occupied country, to establish radio group Barbara and intensify the relationship with the OD.

  1. Known as Region 2 of the OD.
  2. This transmitter was provided by the UK and was deliverd by ship via the so-called 'Swedish Route'. It is believed that this was a Whaddon Mk V transceiver, also known as Paraset (Paracette) (shown in the image).

National radio network   Binnenlandse Radiodienst
In addition to the international radio links between The Netherlands and the Dutch Goverment in London, it was the task of the OD to establish a national communications network, that could be used in case the Germans would destroy the existing infrastructure on their anticipated retreat.

The establishment and maintenance of a radio network was the responsibility of the Binnen­landse Radiodienst (BR) — the Internal Radio Communications Service of the Ordedienst.

As the spy radio sets supplied by the UK, such as the Type 3 Mark II (B2) and the Paraset, were in short supply, the BR made its own transmitters and receivers, that were co-developed by radio technician Jan Thijssen 1 (and later by others as well) and series-produced clandestinely. 2 The radio operators were trained by Anton (Ton) van Schendel, of the Radio Monitoring Service (RCD).
Parts of a clandestine OD radio set

Jan Thijssen was later expelled from the OD, due to differences of opinion about the use of the radio network, and founded a new clandestine organisation: Raad van Verzet (RVV) - Resistance Council — which also became an important clandestine radio network for contact with London.

Some of the OD equipment is shown in the image above. The BR (and RVV) consisted largely of people who had been licenced radio amateurs (HAMs) before the war. Apart from using the series-produced OD radio sets, the OD/BR also distributed the circuit diagrams of these devices, so that they could be built, modified and improved by radio amateurs with locally obtained parts.

In September 1944, after the liberation of the south of the Netherlands, the OD/BR established reliable radio and telephone links between the regions, the BI in (liberated) Eindhoven and with the Dutch Government in London. In particular the national radio links were important, as the telephone lines in the part of the country that was still occupied, could not always be trusted.

Operating a clandestine radio station during the war was not without risk, as the operators of OD Region 16 found out when they established a temporary radio post in Rijsbergen (near Breda).
The former house of forester Neefs that was used as a radio post by OD region 16

It was located in the home of forester Neefs in the Vloeiweide — an irregation meadow. As the allied invasion had already begun, it was assumed that the war would be over within a couple of weeks and that the Germans were about to retreat. But it was not to be. The liberation of The Netherlands progressed much slower than anticipated, and on 4 November 1944, the Germans discovered the radio post and raided the house. In the incident, that became known as De Post in de Vloeiweide, 13 members of the OD and 4 civilians lost their lives, along with 3 Germans.

On 20 September 1944, the OD was placed, together with LKP and RVV, under the Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (BS) [3] — the internal armed forces, under control of reserve Colonel Henri Koot. 3 Radio technician Jan Thijssen (now with the RVV) [9] was arrested by the Germans on 9 November 1944, and executed on 8 March 1945 at Woeste Hoeve, along with 116 other resistance fighters.

Anton van Schendel survived the war and continued his work at the Radio Controle Dienst (RCD) of the PTT. In 1952 he became the head of the newly established Bijzondere Radiodienst (BRD), that monitored foreign (propaganda) broadcasts during the Cold War. The BRD also used radio direction finding (RDF) to search for clandestine (spy) radio stations operating on Dutch territory.

  1. With help from Philips in Eindhoven (Netherlands).
  2. By Jan Hendrik (Henk) Op den Velde in Zaandam (codename HEIN) with components supplied by Philips. Later, after Op den Velde was arrested, engineers from Philips took over production [6].
  3. Henri Koot (1883-1959) is also known as a Dutch expert in the field of cryptography [4]. Command of the BS was assumed from September 1944 onwards by Prins Bernhard — the Queen's son-in-law.

In liberated parts of The Netherlands, the members of the organisation could be recognised by a band on their arm. Most of these armbands were in the colours blue, white and orange, but other designs were also used. In some cases, the name of the city was printed on the band as well [19].

The image on the right shows the armband that was used by the OD in the city of Delft. The cloth is printed with vertical bars in the colours blue, white and orange. At the center is the Dutch Lion with the letters 'O' and 'D' at either side. Under it is the city name Delft, printed in a bright colour. The logo is stamped with the black letters 'OD'.

There are other designs in which the blue, white and orange bars were printed horizontally, with just the letters 'OD' in black at the centre.
OD arm band of the city of Delft (Netherlands)

OD arm band of the city of Delft (Netherlands)
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OD arm band of the city of Delft (Netherlands)

The OD was organised in 12 Sections, each identified by a Roman numeral.

  1. Generale Staf
  2. Intendance
  3. Geneeskundige Dienst
  4. Materieel en Bewapening
  5. Genie
  6. Motordienst
  7. Administratie en verpleging stap
  8. Arrestatie en voorbereiding internering
  9. Bewaking
  10. Algemene Zaken
  11. Civiele Zaken
  12. Documentatie
Furthermore, the General Staff (Section 1), consisted of 8 Bureaux.

Section I, Bureaux
  1. Operaties (operations)
  2. Personeel en Organisatie (personnel and organisation)
  3. Inlichtingen (intelligence)
  4. Juridische Zaken (legal affairs)
  5. Verbindingen (communication)
  6. Koninklijke Marechaussee, Politie, Brandweer (military police, police, fire brigade)
  7. Registrator (registrar)
  8. Vervoer (transport)
Regions   Gewesten
The OD had divided The Netherlands into 19 regions (Dutch: Gewesten) that had a high degree of autonomy. Although the borders of the regions mostly followed the borders of the provinces, there are some exceptions. Especially the larger provinces (e.g. Noord-Brabant and Gelderland) and the densely populated area around Amsterdam were sub-divided into smaller regions.

OD regions in The Netherlands during WWII
OD regions in The Netherlands during WWII

Each region had a number, a name and a 'capital', as listed below. The Region number was usually prefixed with the letter 'G' for Gewest, the Dutch word for Region. For example: Groningen would be identified as G2, Amsterdam as G10 and Eindhoven as G18.

  1. Friesland
  2. Groningen
  3. Drenthe
  4. Overijssel
  5. Achterhoek
  6. Veluwe
  7. Betuwe
  8. Utrecht
  9. Het Gooi
  10. Amsterdam
  11. Noord-Holland 1
  12. Haarlem
  13. Zuid-Holland
    's-Gravenhage (The Hague)
  14. Rotterdam
  15. Zeeland
  16. West Noord-Brabant
  17. Oost Noord-Brabant
    's-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)
  18. Eindhoven
  19. Limburg
    Venlo (and Maastricht)
  1. Also known as Noorderkwartier.

Districts   Districten
In addition to the Regions listed above, each of which had its own Region-Command, the Chief-of-Staff of the OD, jhr. Six, divided the country in four large districts when he assumed command in 1942. These districts were known an Noord, West, Oost en Zuid (north, west, east and south).

OD districts in The Netherlands during WWII
OD districts in The Netherlands during WWII

The national (radio) network that had been prepaired by the Binnenlandse Radiodienst (BR) – the Internal Radio Service – was fully activated on 5 September 1944, 1 when the allies entered the Netherlands from the south, 2 and was operational until after the liberation of the country in May 1945. Until that moment, Eindhoven (Region 18) was the only base that was in the liberated part of the country; all other stations were on occupied territory. Operating them was a high risk [13].

OD communications lines in The Netherlands during WWII
OD communications lines from September 1944 until December 1945

After the activation of the OD/BR Network, Eindhoven was the residency of the Commander of the Internal Armed Forces (CBS), and acted at the central hub. It had lines to the OD's General Head­quarters (AHK) in Amsterdam 3 and to the leading stations in Blaricum (LS1) and Amsterdam (LS2, LS2a). Secure communications between Amsterdam (LS2, LS2a, AHK), The Hague (13), Haarlem (12), Alkmaar (11) and Blaricum (LS1) were possible via the underground telephone network that had secretly been built by PTT employees during the war. All other lines were via radio [13].

  • AHK
    Amsterdam 4
    General Headquarters (jhr. Pieter Jacob Six)
  • LS1
    Leading Station I
  • LS2
    Amsterdam 4
    Leading Station II
  • LS2a
    Amsterdam 4
    Leading Station IIa
  • CBS
    Commander of the Internal Armed Forces
There were no direct radio or telephone links with Rotterdam (14) and Utrecht (8), due to technical issues at these locations. All communication with these two regions went by courier.

  1. This date is also known as Dolle Dinsdag — Mad Tuesday  Wikipedia
  2. Operation Market Garden  Wikipedia
  3. Initially, the headquarters of the OD (AHK-OD) was located in The Hague, but in August 1942 it was relocated to Amsterdam, under the new Chief-of-Staff jhr. Pieter Jacob Six [6].
  4. AHK, LS2 and LS2a were all located in Amsterdam, but at different addresses.

Zeeland   Region 15
In particular the lines with Region 15 – the province of Zeeland – played an important part during the Battle of the Scheldt (2 October - 8 November 1944). It had a fine maze of smaller stations on each of the islands, and was able to provide the Allied Forces with accurate information about the German movements [14]. Although this battle is little known, it is equally important to Operation Market Garden. The Netflex movie The forgotten Battle (2021), is about this event [15].

OD Radio Network of District South
Communication lines during the Battle of the Scheldt

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Clandestine Ordedienst radio station at Lange Noordstraat in Middelburg (Zeeland, Walcheren, Netherlands). Source: Beeldbank Zeeland 66336 [20].

Apart from an early incident in Region 16 in September 1944 (De Post in de Vloei­weide), in which 20 people had lost their lives, the lines worked well until the end of 1944 [13]. Over time, the stations in Venlo (19), Zutphen (5) and Apeldoorn (6) were lost to German Radio Direction Finding (RDF), but the big blow came in early 1945. On 30 January, the first station in Amsterdam was lost (LS2), soon followed by the second one (LS2a). Early in February the stations in Groningen (2), Assen (3), Zwolle (4), Leeuwarden (1), Blaricum (LS1) and The Hague (13) were raided over a period of just 10 days, leaving only 9, 11 and 12 in the area around Amsterdam.

OD communications lines in The Netherlands during WWII
OD communications lines on 1 March 1945

Luckily, Amsterdam still had its secret telephone lines and was soon able to re-establish some of its radio links. After the war had ended with the German capitulation on 5 May 1945, the central hub in Eindhoven was closed by the BI (15 May), but the rest of the network was kept alive until the regular services were restored. At the end of June 1945, the OD/BR network was closed down.

Additional information
Region 11   Alkmaar
Region 13   The Hague
Region 16   Breda
Region 19   Limburg

  1. Wikipedia, Ordedienst
    Retrieved December 2020 (in Dutch language).

  2. Wikipedia, Johan Hendrik Westerveld
    Retrieved December 2020 (in Dutch language).

  3. Wikipedia, Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten
    Retrieved December 2020 (in Dutch language).

  4. Wikipedia, Henri Koot
    Retrieved December 2020 (in Dutch language).

  5. Alfred Paul Marie Cammaert, Het verborgen front
    Hoofdstuk VIII, De Ordedienst (Chapter 8, in Dutch language).
    University of Groningen, 1994.

  6. Jan Schulten, De radiopost van de Ordedienst in Rijsbergen
    - achtergronden van het drama op de Vloeiweide - (in Dutch language).
    Jaarboek De Oranjeboom 47, 1994.

  7. JWM (Jan) Schulten, De geschiedenis van de Ordedienst
    University of Leiden, Dissertation 1998. ISBN 90-12-08633-7.

  8. Tom Dekker, Een 'militaire' verzetsgroep met lijntjes naar Londen
    University of Amsterdam, Master Thesis, 30 July 2018.

  9. Wikipedia, Jan Thijssen (verzetsstrijder)
    Retrieved December 2020 (in Dutch language).

  10. J. (Jack) Verhagen, Dagboek van den Radiozender Gewest XI
    August 1945. Obtained from Regionaal Archief Alkmaar.

  11. Wikipedia (Netherlands), Pieter Jacob Six
    Retrieved December 2020.

  12. A.S.M. van Schendel, Mijn werkzaamheden als chef-marconist van de OD en mijn belevenissen in de gevangenis
    Organisation of the Interal Radio Service (BR) of the OD and the radio links with the UK.
    Post-war report, in Dutch language. Date unknown.

  13. Lt. ir. W.J.L. Dalmijn, Verslag inzake den binnenlandsche Radiodienst van den OD over het tijdvak september 1944 tot mei 1945
    Post-war report, in Dutch language. Date unknown.

  14. Wikipedia, Battle of the Scheldt
    Retrieved December 2020.
     Dutch version

  15. Wikipedia, The Forgotten Battle
    Retrieved December 2020, May 2021.
     Dutch version

  16. D.W. (Dick) Rollema (PA0SE), Radioverbindingen van het Verzet in Zeeland
    VERON Electron, May 1987

  17. D.W. (Dick) Rollema (PA0SE), Station G11 van de Binnenlandse Radiodienst
    VERON Electron, May 1988

  18. Wikipedia (Netherlands), Allard Oosterhuis
    Retrieved November 2021.
     English version

  19. Website Ninnenlandse Strijdkrachten, Armbanden
    Visited 8 January 2023.

  20. Image of clandestine OD radio station at Lange Noordstraat in Middelburg
    ZB Bibliotheek van Zeeland, Middelburg. Beeldbank Zeeland, record 66336.
    Author and exact location unknown.
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© Crypto Museum. Created: Wednesday 30 December 2020. Last changed: Sunday, 08 January 2023 - 10:34 CET.
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