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Her Excellency
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert 2015 (1).jpg
Hennis-Plasschaert in 2015
Special Representative for the
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq
Assumed office
1 November 2018
Secretary-General António Guterres
Preceded by Ján Kubiš
Minister of Defence

In office
5 November 2012 – 4 October 2017
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Hans Hillen
Succeeded by Klaas Dijkhoff
Member of the House of Representatives

In office
23 March 2017 – 13 September 2018

In office
17 June 2010 – 5 November 2012
Member of the European Parliament

In office
20 July 2004 – 17 June 2010
Constituency Netherlands
Personal details
Born Jeanine Antoinette Plasschaert
7 April 1973(1973-04-07) (age 47)
Heerlen, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
(since 2000)
Other political
Alliance of Liberals and
Democrats for Europe Party
Spouse(s) Erik-Jan Hennis (m. 2003)
Children 1 stepson
Residence Nederhorst den Berg, Netherlands
Alma mater European Secretarial Academy
Occupation Politician · Diplomat · Civil servant · Management consultant
Military service
Allegiance The Netherlands
Service/branch Royal Netherlands Navy
Years of service Reserve since 2018
Rank Nl-marine-vloot-kapitein luitenant ter zee Commander

Jeanine Antoinette Hennis-Plasschaert (born 7 April 1973) is a Dutch politician and diplomat serving as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq since 1 November 2018. She is a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Hennis-Plasschaert, a civil servant by occupation, was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group (ALDE) after the European Parliament election of 2004 on 20 July 2004; she was reelected after the European Parliament election of 2009. She was elected as a member of the House of Representatives after the general election of 2010 and resigned as a Member of the European Parliament the same day she took office as a Member of the House of Representatives on 17 June 2010.

Following the election of 2012 and after the cabinet formation the Second Rutte cabinet was formed with Hennis-Plasschaert becoming Minister of Defence. She stepped down as a member of the House of Representatives on 5 November 2012, the same day she took office as Minister of Defence.[1] She served as Minister of Defence until her resignation on 4 October 2017.[2][3] After the election of 2017 she returned as a member of the House of Representatives, serving from 23 March 2017 until 13 September 2018.

Early life and educationEdit

Jeanine Antoinette Plasschaert was born in Heerlen, Netherlands. She followed her secondary education at the St. Anthony's College in Gouda and studied at the European Secretarial Academy in Utrecht.

Political careerEdit

Member of the European Parliament, 2004–2010Edit

In 2004 Hennis-Plasschaert was elected into the European Parliament for the VVD (European parliamentary affiliation: European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party) with 44,000 preference votes. In the European Parliament Hennis-Plasschaert was a member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism and a substitute for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. She also served as a member of the Delegation to the EU-Romania Joint Parliamentary Committee and a substitute for the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted an honor cordon to welcome Dutch Minister of Defense Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert at the Pentagon (4)

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert with United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on 22 May 2013.

131128 Timmermans en Hennis bij Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta president Mali 4685 (12771302915)

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and then Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans with President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on 28 November 2013.

In May 2005 Hennis-Plasschaert filed a report for the European Parliament concerning the safety of airports. She argued that safety regulations against terrorist attacks, should only apply for airports, and not for the neighbouring areas. Furthermore, the costs and safety regulations should not distort free competition. In February 2006 she asked questions concerning the code of conduct for the media set up by the European Commission after the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. In March 2006 she wanted to enter Belarus to monitor the presidential election as an independent observer; however, she was refused entry.

In February 2010 Hennis-Plasschaert, as rapporteur on the issue, led the EP vote halting an EU-United States agreement which would have granted US authorities access to banking data of European citizens in the SWIFT network.

Career in national politicsEdit

Hennis-Plasschaert was put on the 4th place on her party's list for the Dutch general election of 2010[4] and became a member of the Dutch House of Representatives. She focused on matters of public safety, Dutch police, equality of treatment, LGBT rights, and emergency management. During the Dutch general election of 2012, she was number 4 on the list for the VVD and thus reelected. After the following cabinet formation she became the presumptive Minister of Defence for Cabinet Rutte II.[5] In October 2015, she was named the most influential woman in the Netherlands.[6]

Under Hennis-Plasschaert's leadership, the Netherlands committed in 2013 to purchasing 37 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets for about €4.5 billion to replace its ageing fleet of General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.[7]

From 2014, Hennis-Plasschaert oversaw the Dutch mission of six F-16 jet fighters that carried out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq. On 29 January 2016, she extended the airstrikes into Syria.[8]

For the 2017 national elections, Hennis-Plasschaert was ranked number two on the VVD’s candidate list. Later that year, however, the Dutch Safety Board published a report highlighting serious failures in the Ministry of Defence surrounding an artillery training accident in Mali that killed two Dutch peacekeeping troops and wounded a third.[9] In the wake of the report, Hennis-Plasschaert ordered extra checks on ammunition and medical care for troops on missions.[9] She also started to wind down the Dutch contribution to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), to which she had initially provided Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopters in 2013.[10] Confronting continued criticsm, however, she eventually announced her resignation after a debate in the House of Representatives on 3 October,[3] handing in her resignation the following day.[11] Her resignation came as negotiations to form a new third coalition government under Minister-President Mark Rutte entered their final phase.[12]

Career in the United NationsEdit

In August 2018, Hennis-Plasschaert was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as his Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), thereby succeeding Ján Kubiš.[13]

Activities in IraqEdit

In December 2019, Hennis-Plasschaert called for renewed efforts to restore civil balance and protections for free speech.[14][15]

Other activitiesEdit

Personal lifeEdit

She has been married to economist Erik-Jan Hennis since 27 September 2003 and has a stepson. They live in Nederhorst den Berg.


  1. Script error Rutte II: 'alle namen van het nieuwe kabinet', RTL, 25 October 2012.
  2. Script error 'Alle ministers zijn nu bekend', NOS, 28 October 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Dutch defense minister resigns over peacekeepers' deaths in Mali". Reuters. 3 October 2017. 
  4. Script error Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert over 4de plaats op VVD-lijst Script error, NOS, 30 March 2010
  5. Script error De bewindspersonen van het tweede kabinet-Rutte, NOS, 29 October 2012
  6. Script error Hennis-Plasschaert geeft flamboyant leiding, Volkskrant, 12 October 2015
  7. Matthew Steinglass (September 18, 2013), Lockheed Martin lands €4.5bn Dutch deal for F-35 fighter jets Financial Times.
  8. van Tartwijk, Maarten (29 January 2016). "Netherlands to Extend Airstrikes Against Islamic State Into Syria". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dutch defence minister quits over Mali training deaths Al Jazeera, October 4, 2017.
  10. Anthony Deutsch (October 3, 2017), Dutch defence minister resigns over peacekeepers' deaths in Mali Reuters.
  11. "J.A. (Jeanine) Hennis-Plasschaert" (in Dutch). Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  12. Cynthia Kroet (October 3, 2017), Dutch defense minister resigns over fatal Mali incident Politico Europe.
  13. Ms. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of the Netherlands - Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) United Nations, press release of 31 August 2018.
  14. Protests and civil unrest show ‘renewed sense of patriotism’ in Iraq, UN envoy tells Security Council,, December 3, 2019.
  15. Denouncing attacks against Baghdad protesters, UN warns ‘violence risks placing Iraq on dangerous trajectory, December 7, 2019.
  16. Transatlantic, bi-partisan Commission launched to prevent election meddling Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity (TCEI), press release of 11 May 2018.
  17. Europe Policy Group World Economic Forum.
  18. Global Future Council: The Future of International Security World Economic Forum.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Hans Hillen
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Klaas Dijkhoff
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Ján Kubiš
Special Representative for the
United Nations Assistance
Mission for Iraq

Succeeded by

Script error

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