To be honest, I didn't mind too much when I got in, aged 18 and naive, but I learned fast. I never became the sergeant that I was meant to become; instead I was promoted to chaplains clerk - a cynical punishment for my political activities - there was literally nothing to do but wait for a telephone to ring in an office where telephones never rang - 9 hours a day, 5 days a week.
The military was good for my personal education though; becoming an active member of the VVDM (the Union for Conscripted Soldiers) and the BVD (the -illegal- left wing Conscripted Soldiers Union).
"Don't let them break you, punch back!"
Looking back at it, I can't help feeling proud of what the Dutch army was like then; the liberalism, progressiveness, the mix of people in the forces gave a good reflection of society at the time (compared to the all-voluntary professional army of these days). Compulsory saluting was abolished, much to the chagrin of a visiting US Army major who started a court case against a sentry who didn't salute him (the American lost, by the way).
And yes, long, long hair was flowing from under our berets.