The aircraft went into production after the first flight in 1938 and eleven entered Dutch service. At the time of the German invasion in 1940, nine aircraft relocated to bases in France, and on 22 May 1940 escaped to the UK to form the basis of No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF, Coastal Command, based at Pembroke Dock in South Wales. Eventually lack of spares meant that these aircraft were retired. Meanwhile, the Germans completed the T.VIIIs, still under construction at the Fokker factory, and after evaluation at Travemünde, operated them in the Black Sea in the reconnaissance, air-sea rescue and anti-submarine role.
Early on 6 May 1941 four men – former Lieutenant Govert Steen and Corporal Evert Willem Boomsma, both of the Army Aviation Brigade, along with Fokker technician Wijbert Lindeman, and former Dutch Army Lieutenant Jan Beelaerts van Blokland – swam out to the Fokker T.VIIw KD+GQ moored on the Minervahaven on the IJ in Amsterdam. At dawn they managed to take off (Steen, a fighter pilot, had never flown the type before) and flew to England, evading British anti-aircraft fire, and landing at Broadstairs, Kent. Beelaerts van Blokland and Lindeman joined the Princess Irene Brigade, with Beelaerts van Blokland becoming its commander during operations in Normandy, while Steen joined No. 129 Squadron RAF, flying 79 sorties before being shot down and killed on 5 June 1942.