In this article we analyze the ways in which the risks of military missions and the prospects for casualties have made an impact on the deployment of soldiers by the Netherlands. The question is whether the self-image of being a military nation acts as a hindrance to participation when the going gets tough. The failure to protect the inhabitants of the Bosnian enclave Srebrenica can be viewed as a tragic case in point. A prudent politics of acceptable risks has been pursued up to the current mission in Iraq. Tolerance for casualties is evident at levels which are low from a historical perspective—as an evaluation of the police actions against the Indonesian independence movement makes clear—but which are quite normal by international standards. Notwithstanding the latter observation, it proves enlightening to reconstruct the casualty issue in terms of local knowledge.