The Netherlands’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Hendrik Jan Schuwer?
Hendrik “Henne” Schuwer took over as the Dutch ambassador to the United States on September 17, 2015. It’s the third U.S. assignment for Schuwer, a career member of the Netherlands’ foreign service.
Schuwer was born May 3, 1953. His parents were journalists in The Hague, but Schuwer moved with his mother to Bilthoven when she became a teacher there. He graduated from secondary school in 1972 and went to the University of Leiden, where he earned an M.A. in law in 1978. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that year.
Schuwer’s first overseas assignment, in 1979, was in the embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, as third secretary. In 1981, he was made second secretary in the mission to New Delhi, India. In 1984, Schuwer began his first assignment in Brussels, Belgium, where he would spend much of his career. In this posting, he was first secretary at the Netherlands’ permanent mission to the European Union (EU).
Schuwer’s first U.S. assignment was in 1988, serving in the Los Angeles consulate working on economic and trade issues. He returned to The Hague in 1991 as deputy director of the European Integration Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1995, he moved over to a similar job in the ministry’s political department.
Schuwer returned to the United States in 1997, this time assigned to the embassy in Washington. He served until 1998 as a counselor, then as deputy chief of mission for the duration of his tenure there.
He started his second stretch in Brussels in 2002, beginning a 13-year residency with one break. The first assignment was as deputy permanent representative to the EU, then in 2007 he was made director of the private office of the secretary general of NATO. He returned to The Hague briefly in 2009 for a stint as director of the ministry’s North Africa and Middle East department, but was back in Brussels the following year, this time as ambassador to Belgium, where he served until being sent to Washington.
Schuwer is married to a Swede, Lena Boman, with whom he has four grown children. Not surprisingly, Schuwer told Washington Life magazine that when he retires, it will be to Brussels.
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