Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (born April 3, 1948) is the 11th NATO Secretary General and a Dutch politician and foreign minister..


Jaap de Hoop Scheffer became the 11th NATO Secretary General on January 5, 2004 after Lord Robertson, who held the post from 1999 until 2003. The initial announcement was made on September 22, 2003.

See the Official NATO Announcement (January 5, 2004)


Jaap de Hoop Scheffer served in the Dutch military in the late 1960's, flying military cargo planes. After his military service, he worked for the ministery of Foreign Affairs from 1976 to 1986. The first two years, he was stationed at the Dutch embassy in Ghana. After that, he worked at the Dutch delegation at NATO headquarters in Brussels until 1980.

Although he has been a member of the D'66 party, he became a member of the Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA) in 1982. At the elections of 1986, he was chosen in the Second Chamber of parliament. He was a spokesman on foreign affairs for his party. Between 1997 and 2001, he was the leader of the CDA delegation in the Second Chamber, at a time when the CDA was in opposition. This made him the party leader.

When the list of candidates for the 2002 elections was chosen, his position as the party leader of the CDA became uncertain. After a power struggle with the party chairman Van Rij, De Hoop Scheffer resigned as party leader. Jan Peter Balkenende succeeded him, and had the top spot on the CDA list of candidates in the elections on May 15, 2002.

In those elections, the CDA was the winner, and received the leading role in the formation of a new government. The new prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende appointed Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as foreign minister in his short-lived first cabinet, a position he retained in the second Balkenende cabinet after the elections of January 22, 2003.

In 2003, foreign policy of the Netherlands, which was determined in a large part by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Jan Peter Balkenende, was characterized by its approval of the United States in its war against Iraq, although its formulation ("political" but not "military" support) gave it an ambivalent and vague character. It was an unpopular policy with the Dutch people, who strongly opposed the invasion, but it may have bolstered De Hoop Scheffer's international career.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is said to speak fluent Dutch, English, German and French.

External links