Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
11th Secretary General of NATO
In office
5 January 2004  1 August 2009
Preceded by Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo (Acting)
Succeeded by Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
22 July 2002  3 December 2003
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Jozias van Aartsen
Succeeded by Ben Bot
Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal
In office
27 March 1997  1 October 2001
Preceded by Enneüs Heerma
Succeeded by Jan Peter Balkenende
Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives
In office
27 March 1997  1 October 2001
Preceded by Enneüs Heerma
Succeeded by Jan Peter Balkenende
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
3 June 1986  23 May 2002
Personal details
Born Jakob Gijsbert de Hoop Scheffer
(1948-04-03) 3 April 1948
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Political party Democrats 66 (Before 1982)
Christian Democratic Appeal (1982–present)
Spouse(s) Jeannine de Hoop Scheffer
Children 2
Alma mater Leiden University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Jakob Gijsbert "Jaap" de Hoop Scheffer ([ˈjaːb də ˈɦoːp ˈsxɛfər];[1] born 3 April 1948) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as the 11th Secretary General of NATO from 5 January 2004 until 1 August 2009.[2]

He previously served as a Member of the House of Representatives from 3 June 1986 until 23 May 2002, and became the Parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands and CDA Party leader on 27 March 1997 after Enneüs Heerma stepped down. He resigned his positions as Parliamentary leader and CDA Party leader, after an internal power struggle, between him and then CDA Party Chair Marnix van Rij on 1 October 2001, and was succeed him in both positions by Jan Peter Balkenende who became Prime Minister of the Netherlands after the Dutch general election of 2002, with De Hoop Scheffer becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new Cabinet Balkenende I, and continued serving in the Cabinet Balkenende II. He was an important figure in the Dutch decision to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He resigned as Minister of Foreign Affairs on 3 December 2003, when he was selected as the next Secretary General of NATO, he served as Secretary General from 5 January 2004 until 1 August 2009.

After his term as Secretary General of NATO ended, De Hoop Scheffer became a professor at the Leiden University sitting in the Pieter Kooijmans Chair. He also teaches at Leiden University College.

Life and career

Born in Amsterdam, De Hoop Scheffer graduated with an LL.M. degree at Leiden University in 1974. After completing military service in the air force, where he became a reserve officer, he worked for the ministry of foreign affairs from 1976 to 1986. For 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 had been a member of the D66 party, he became a member of the Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA) in 1982. At the elections of 1986, he was elected to the House of Representatives. He was a spokesman on foreign policy for his party. Between 1997 and 2001, he was the leader of the CDA delegation in the House of Representatives, 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 15 May 2002.

Foreign Minister

The CDA won in those elections and played the leading role in the formation of a new coalition government. The new prime minister Balkenende appointed 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 22 January 2003. In 2003, the foreign policy of the Netherlands was largely determined by De Hoop Scheffer and Balkenende. Its main foreign policy decision was to contribute to Operation Iraqi Freedom, although its formulation ("political" but not "military" support) gave it an ambivalent character. However, 1,100 Dutch servicemen were deployed as part of the Stabilisation Force Iraq in the southern province of Al Muthanna from 2003 till 2005, and two of them were killed in action.

In 2003 Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was also the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

NATO Secretary General

From left to right. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and wife Jeannine visiting Laura and George W. Bush at the Bush Ranch in Texas in 2007.

He became the 11th NATO Secretary General on 5 January 2004, succeeding Lord Robertson, who held the post from 1999 until 2003. The announcement was made on 22 September 2003.[3] As Secretary General, De Hoop Scheffer urged NATO members to contribute more to NATO operations such as the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.[4] He "informed a NATO conference that 'NATO troops have to guard pipelines that transport oil and gas that is directed for the West,' and more generally to protect sea routes used by tankers and other 'crucial infrastructure' of the energy system".[5]

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer attended an economic conference in Montreal, Canada, on 21 June 2007, where he encouraged Canada to continue its military mission in Afghanistan past its 2009 withdrawal date. He said, "I think more time is necessary to create those conditions for reconstruction and development to go on."[6] His visit coincided with the death of three more Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. "I know how dramatic it is if Canadian soldiers pay the highest price, but I still say, you are there for a good cause."[7] De Hoop Scheffer's comments were made as the Canadian government was under pressure by opposition politicians to define the length of Canada's commitment to the mission in Afghanistan.

On 21 July 2009 De Hoop Scheffer suffered a heart attack. He underwent angioplasty after which he was reported to be in stable condition.[8][9]

His successor, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, took office on 1 August 2009.

Other activities

On 1 September 2009 De Hoop Scheffer was appointed to the Pieter Kooijmans Chair for Peace, Law and Security at Leiden University. The appointment is part-time, and the holder of this chair is appointed for a maximum of three years.

In addition, De Hoop Scheffer has held a variety of honorary positions, including:


It has been alleged by Iran that Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has met Jundallah leader Abdolmalek Rigi while he was visiting Afghanistan in 2008 as NATO secretary general amid Iranian and some western press accusations that CIA is backing the terrorist group. This accusation was later denied by NATO.[11]

Honours and awards


  1. The first word in isolation: [ˈjaːp].
  2. NATO - Biography Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
  3. "New Secretary General takes up office". NATO. 7 January 2004.
  4. "Nato boss pleads for Afghan focus". BBC. 19 June 2004.
  5. Chomsky, Noam (2011-04-21) Is the world too big to fail?, Salon.com
  6. "Canada should stay in Afghanistan past 2009, NATO chief says". CBC News. 21 June 2007.
  7. "Canada should stay in Afghanistan past 2009, NATO chief says". CBC News. 21 June 2007.
  8. International Advisory Board Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (DERASAT), Manama.
  9. Spencer, Richard; Osborn, Andrew; Waterfield, Bruno (23 February 2010). "Iran arrests most wanted man after police board civilian flight". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  10. Hoge onderscheiding voor De Hoop Scheffer - online de Volkskrant (Dutch)
  11. Ridder Grootkruis in de Orde van Oranje Nassau voor De Hoop Scheffer Website Ministry of General Affairs (Dutch)
  12. Lithuanian Presidency, Lithuanian Orders searching form
  13. Decretul 301 din 10 mai 2004 (Decretul 301/2004) - Decree from the Romanian president to award Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
  14. Slovak republic website, State honours : 1st Class in 2009 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)
  15. stafoto
  16. Hoge Britse ridderorde voor De Hoop Scheffer - Website www.nu.nl (Dutch)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Enneüs Heerma
Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal
Succeeded by
Jan Peter Balkenende
Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives
Political offices
Preceded by
Jozias van Aartsen
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Ben Bot
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo
Secretary General of NATO
Succeeded by
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
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