The army trade union VSOA insists that such shows of gratitude provide extra encouragement during the festive period.
Trade unionist Edwin Lauwereins: "Soldiers are heartened by the response of the populace and it's making them proud too. People go up to them and say thank, say hello or take their hats off to them."
Such actions are generally not seen as a security issue: "It all depends on the instructions the soldiers received. In some places it's stricter than in others. There's no problem if it's a coffee or a Danish pastry, but if people started bringing large parcels, well, then it could turn into a problem."