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Forever connected

Foto's: Peter Groenenberg, Bertwin Leentvaar, Erik en Lyanne Paskamp, Frank Clement

Voor altijd verbonden – De inzet van de eerste Nederlandse blauwhelmen in voormalig Joegoslavië 1992-1994

Maranke Pater



Together with Anton van Renssen, Maranke Pater interviewed over 20 ‘Bosnia veterans’, including Sergeant Major Arie van der Marel from Harderwijk, about their experiences in Croatia and Bosnia for her podcast. The battalion left from the barracks in Garderen. When the connectors arrived in the UN-protected areas, some international battalions were not yet present, leaving the connectors to survive in an area where there were still several tense situations due to the conflict.


September 2023 saw the publication of the book ‘Forever Connected’, which Maranke Pater wrote based on these interviews and the more than 40 additional interviews conducted. The book is full of stories from veterans of the 1 (NL) UN Signal Battalion, the liaison battalion that travelled to the former Yugoslavia in April 1992 under the leadership of her father, commander Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Vermaas.

It not only tells her father’s story of the origins of this peacekeeping mission under UNPROFOR and the shelling of the Rainbow Hotel in Sarajevo where he stayed with the main force, but also the stories of 60 other veterans involved in the mission. In more than 30 locations in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia, the liaison officers managed to rustle and pioneer connections that mattered to the UN. They are stories of survival, powerlessness, trauma, but above all: camaraderie. Forever Connected represents the connections these soldiers had to make, but also the bond they had and still have with each other. It had been the first and last time an entire liaison battalion was sent out. The biggest adventure for the Dutch Liaison Service.


Together with Anton van Renssen, Maranke Pater made the #podcast ‘Forever connected’ about 1(NL) UN SIGNAL BATTALION in former Yugoslavia, in cooperation with the Dutch Veterans Institute.

In time, the interviews with the #connectors will be included in the Interview Collection Dutch #Veterans of the #NLVi #ICNV #UNPROFOR

Connected forever

Podcast on the Liaison Battalion
Maranke Pater-Vermaas is the daughter of Hans Vermaas, the first commander of the 1 (NL) UN Signal Battalion going to Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia in April 1992. A fierce civil war is going on between Serbia and Croatia and the UN sends peacekeeping force UNPROFOR to the area. It is the first time an entire battalion of liaison officers is sent out. In this podcast, Maranke delves into her father’s past and follows the tracks of the liaison battalion in eight episodes.

For the podcast, over 20 veterans were interviewed about their experiences in Croatia and Bosnia. Creators of this podcast are: Maranke Pater, Anton van Renssen, Misha van der Hoef and Piet Nelemans.