Netherlands maintains NATO headquarters at Brunssum

During a meeting in Brussels on 9 June, the Defence ministers of the NATO countries decided on the geographic redistribution of NATO headquarters. It was agreed that the Netherlands would keep the Brunssum headquarters.

The 28 member states want to make reductions in the great number of headquarters and agencies operated by the Alliance. The number of jobs in the staffs will be reduced from 13,500 to 8,800. Nevertheless, Brunssum will get an extra 230 positions as a result of the transfer of the expeditionary staff from Heidelberg.

The headquarters in the southern province of Limburg is, among other things, responsible for directing the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The NC3A agency based in The Hague will also be maintained. This agency, which employs 625 personnel, develops sophisticated communication, C2 and espionage equipment. DARS at Nieuw Milligen will relocate to Italy. These two rapidly deployable mobile NATO C2 units for commanding air operations employ approximately 150 people.

Strategic value

Defence Minister Hans Hillen was pleased with the results. “Although the loss of DARS in this necessary round of reductions means we are parting with an important element, total employment in the Netherlands will actually increase. What is more, the Brunssum headquarters, which has been based there for over 40 years, is of great strategic importance.”