Brunssum, the Netherlands - On Tuesday 11 April, the mayor, aldermen and municipal secretary of Beekdaelen visited the NATO headquarters 'Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum' (HQ JFCBS). This headquarters is one of four NATO units stationed at the Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk camp in Brunssum.
The mayor of Beekdaelen Eric Geurts -together with a number of other local mayors- had already visited HQ JFCBS last January. He found the program offered so interesting at the time that he subsequently contacted the headquarters, asking: "Could you offer the program again, but this time for 'my' aldermen and the municipal clerk?"
The Dutch Brigadier General Ronald Rietbergen welcomed the guests in HQ JFCBS. They received a briefing about the headquarters and a historical briefing about the former Hendrik state mine and the NATO headquarters.
During the briefing, the guests received an explanation of the role, tasks and responsibilities of the headquarters, such as maintaining peace in our part of Europe, but also in the three Baltic states, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. The importance of this headquarters within NATO has increased enormously over the past year due to the illegal act of aggression on the Russian side in Ukraine.
In the 'Joint All Domains Operations Centre', HQ JFCBS monitors the 'Brunssum' area of responsibility on large screens 24 hours a day and every day of the year.
HQ JFCBS is one of three military headquarters at the so-called operational level, of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which together are capable of protecting and defending NATO territory and planning and launching large-scale missions anywhere in the world. to be carried out.
The Brunssum NATO headquarters celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. In 1953, the predecessor (HQ AFCENT) of HQ JFCBS was established in Fontainebleau, about 100 km south of Paris.
The NATO headquarters ended up in Brunssum after French President de Gaulle and France left the military branch of NATO in the mid-1960s. As a result, all NATO headquarters had to leave France at short notice. In the same period, the closing operation of the twelve coal mines started in the former eastern mining region. The national and provincial government was diligently looking for alternative employment opportunities for the mining region. The NATO headquarters in Fontainebleau were persuaded to move to Brunssum.
The economic impact of the Brunssum NATO base on the region is significant. Research by the Industriebank LIOF (Limburg Institute for Development & Financing) and the Chamber of Commerce South Limburg showed that the personnel working at the base spend more than 100 million euros per year in the region. In addition, HQ JFCBS locally purchases EUR 21 million in goods and services each year and indirectly creates more than 1,100 jobs.