NATO Headquarters is the political and administrative centre of the Alliance and the permanent home of the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s senior political decision-making body.
The Headquarters is located at Boulevard Leopold III, 1110 Brussels, Belgium, on the northeast perimeter of the city. It is home to national delegations of member countries and to liaison offices or diplomatic missions of partner countries.
The work of these delegations and missions is supported by NATO’s International Staff and International Military Staff, also based at the Headquarters.
NATO Headquarters is the political and administrative centre of the Alliance.
It is the permanent home of the North Atlantic Council – NATO’s senior political decision-making body.
The Headquarters hosts over 5,000 meetings every year.
Initially based in London, the Headquarters were moved to Paris in 1952 before being transferred to Brussels, Belgium in 1967.
Role, responsibilities and people
NATO Headquarters is where representatives from all the member states come together to make decisions on a consensus basis. It also offers a venue for dialogue and cooperation between partner countries and NATO member countries, enabling them to work together in their efforts to bring about peace and stability.
Roughly 4,000 people work at NATO Headquarters on a full-time basis. Of these, some 2,000 are members of national delegations and supporting staff members of national military representatives to NATO. About 300 people work at the missions of NATO’s partners countries. Some 1,000 are civilian members of the International Staff or NATO agencies located within the Headquarters and about 500 are members of the International Military Staff, which also includes civilians.
With permanent delegations of NATO members and partners based at the Headquarters, there is ample opportunity for informal and formal consultation on a continuous basis, a key part of the Alliance’s decision-making process.
Meetings at NATO Headquarters take place throughout the year, creating a setting for dialogue among member states. More than 5,000 meetings take place every year among NATO bodies, involving staff based at the Headquarters as well as scores of experts who travel to the site.
In 1949, Allied countries established NATO’s first Headquarters in London, the United Kingdom, at 13 Belgrave Square.
As NATO’s structure developed and more space was needed, its Headquarters moved to central Paris in April 1952. At first it was temporarily housed at the Palais de Chaillot, but then moved to Porte Dauphine in 1960.
In 1966, however, France decided to withdraw from NATO’s integrated military command structure, which called for another move – this time to Brussels in 1967.
These facilities, however, are no longer adequate in view of the Alliance’s enlargement and transformation. As such, in 1999, NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to construct a new headquarters to meet the requirements of the Alliance in the 21st century. It is situated across the road from the existing Headquarters in Brussels.
In November 2002, at a signing ceremony held during the Prague Summit, the Belgian Government transferred to NATO concessionary rights for the construction of the new buildings.
Leopold James De Rothschild