Brunssum, The Netherlands – On 7 July, nearly 40 Dutch Air Force Officer Cadets from the Royal Military Academy (KMA) in Breda, Netherlands, visited Headquarters Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum (HQ JFCBS).
The cadets received a tour of the headquarters and its camp, officially known as the Hendrik van Nassau Ouwerkerk Camp. They also received briefs on the role of JFCBS, and how NATO deters, and if necessary, defends against aggression aimed at Alliance members.
Together with JFCs Naples (JFCNP) and Norfolk (JFCNF), JFCBS is one of 3 Operational-Level military headquarters in NATO. Of these, it is the only one commanded by a European General.
HQ JFCBS moved to Brunssum after President Charles de Gaulle of France withdrew his nation from the military branch of NATO in the mid-1960s, meaning all NATO headquarters in France had to find a new home. The Dutch province of Limburg meanwhile faced the closure of 12 regional coal mines – national and provincial governments, therefore, campaigned for the NATO headquarters at the Palace of Fontainebleau (AFCENT) to relocate to Brunssum instead of the German city of Aachen, to ensure continued employment opportunities. In this, the Netherlands were successful and, as a result, for the last fifty-five years the people of Brunssum have hosted a NATO headquarters that has a key role in preserving peace in Europe.
JFC Brunssum has a significant impact on the surrounding region. A recent economic survey confirms that: personnel working at the base spend more than 100 million euros a year in the local economy; the JFCBS HQs makes purchases amounting to more than 21 million euros in goods and services annually; and the HQs generates more than 1,100 jobs in the Brunssum community.