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51e Jaardiner in België – Cdre Michiel Hijmans spreekt

51e Jaardiner in België – Cdre Michiel Hijmans spreekt

Commodore (RNLN) Michiel Bart Hijmans was born in Amsterdam on 22 April 1958. After completing his secondary education in 1978, he enlisted in the Royal Netherlands Navy as a midshipman. Upon completion of the Royal Netherlands Naval College, he was promoted to officer in 1981 and posted as a watch keeping officer to the frigate HNLMS Van Kinsbergen, transferring later to the guided-missile frigate HNLMS Tromp.

In 1985, he attended  one year training for combat information centre officer at the Operational School in Den Helder, where he specialised in navigation and battle information. That period was followed by fighter controller training at the Control and Reporting Centre of the Royal Netherlands Air Force in Nieuw Milligen, Netherlands.

He was then assigned, in succession, to the guided missile frigate HNLMS De Ruyter and the frigate HNLMS Philips van Almonde as air-defence and navigation officer. During his posting on the Philips van Almonde, he spent nine months in the Caribbean region mainly for counter drugs operations.

In 1991, Commodore Hijmans was appointed Head of the Air Control Section of the RNLN Operational School with responsibility for helicopter training and ship qualification for helicopter operations. He then served for two years as Head of Operations on HNLMS Tromp, the staff ship of the squadron.

In 1994, he attended the Advanced Strategic and General Studies Course, after which he was posted to the Personnel Management Division of the Directorate of Personnel of the Royal Netherlands Navy in The Hague. His duties there related to filling officer positions and officer career planning.

In October 1996, he was promoted to commander and appointed as Deputy Head of Personnel Management within the RNLN Directorate of Personnel.

From July 1998 to August 2000, he commanded the Multi-purpose-class frigate HNLMS Karel Doorman. During that period, the ship was assigned to NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic (Stanavforlant) and Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (Stanavformed).

He then served as staff officer personnel, with the Deputy Director for International Plans and Cooperation in the office of the Chief of the Defence Staff in The Hague. In that assignment, his duties included responsibility for the management of all postings abroad of the Defence organisation and he was a member of the NATO Defence Manpower Committee.

On 29 May 2002, he was promoted to captain and given command of HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën, the first in a series of four new air-defence and command frigates. He held that command for two years. He simultaneously had the command of the Tromp Naval Detachment, later HNLMS Tromp, from 10 September 2002 to June 2004.

From January to June 2004, he attended the Advanced Defence Management Studies course at the Netherlands Defence College in Rijswijk.

In August 2004, he was appointed as Defence Attaché to the United States of America at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C. and was promoted to commodore.

From mid-2005 to mid-2007, he also served as Dean of the Defence Attaché Corps in D.C., an appointment made by the U.S. Department of Defence. For services rendered during his tenure in the USA, he was awarded the US Legion of Merit and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Directors Award.

Since the end of June 2008, he has held the position of Assistant Chief of Staff for International Military Cooperation (SCIMS) directly responsible to the Chief of Defence within the Netherlands Defence Staff, The Hague. At the end of this tour he was awarded by France with the Médaille de la Défense National Echelon d’Or for enhancing the Netherlands-France military cooperation.

From 30 June 2010 until 17 June 2011 he has served as the Commanding Officer of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (former STANAVFORMED) which has been conducting Counter Piracy Operations in Ocean Shield, Counter Terrorism Operations in Operation Active Endeavour and was also part of NATO’s Rapid Response Force 16. After this tour he has presented numerous lectures on counter piracy in The Netherlands, UK, USA, German, Italy and Belgium. He was awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal after his command.

In November 2011 he was appointed as the Director Strategic Operations Center of the Allied Command Operations Headquarters in SHAPE Belgium. Unfortunately he had to leave this post early because of his late wife’s illness.

As of 4 May 2012 he is the Deputy Military Representative to NATO and the EU in Brussels. Later that year he was awarded by France with the Ordre National du Mérite in the rank of Officer. In November 2012 he became An Honorary Member of the Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences.

Commodore Hijmans now lives together with Linda Tjeertes. He has 3 children: a son (born in 1987) and two daughters (born in 1990 and 1992).  His hobbies include hiking, sports, reading, collecting antiques, and cooking.

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