Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spoken of the historical links between the Netherlands and Australia as experts from both countries continue working to identify victims of the MH17 diaster.
Mr Abbott on Monday thanked Australian military personnel for their work during Operation Bring Them Home during a speech at Eindhoven airbase.
He also thanked the Dutch for their leadership and help following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17.
“Australia and Holland go back a very long way,” the prime minister said.
“In fact if Dirk Hartog and Abel Tasman had been a little bit different the whole future of our country may have been different.”
The Dutch explorers visited Australia in the 1600s long before the first British settlement in the late 18th century.
Mr Abbott said while the MH17 operation was unexpected, Australia’s armed forces were always ready to act whenever an Australian interest, citizen or value was at stake.
“None of us would have thought a month or so back that Australian uniforms might be within 30 or 40km of the Russian border.
“But this is a very unusual world. You just never know what is around the corner.”
The prime minister added: “None of us would have thought in 1913 that Australians would be at Gallipoli a couple of years later.”
The prime minister said as the security situation in eastern Ukraine changed for the better “more can and will be done to ensure that no Australian is left untended in a foreign field”.
Mr Abbott has previously blamed pro-Russian militants for shooting downing Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17.
The crash investigation and retrieval of remains was suspended last week due to safety concerns after fighting between Kiev forces and rebels intensified.