Monday, May 7th, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had pleasure to enjoy his first working day at the new NATO Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Pounding a gavel donated by Iceland in 1963 (and sheepishly admitted as missing for decades), a slightly emotional Stoltenberg closed the old NATO headquarters by saying that NATO’s move to new headquarters signals that NATO is evolving, while “determination to preserve peace & security” remains unchanged.
“It’s a modern building for a forward-looking alliance,” said Stoltenberg to reporters when he sat down to report to work on his first day within his new office.
“When we moved into the old headquarters, NATO had 15 members. Now NATO has 29 members. So we’re a much bigger alliance, and therefore I think it’s time that we move into this modern building, ” said Stoltenberg.
When asked about his new office, Stoltenberg smiled and said that his office is ‘actually a bit smaller than the old one, but pretty much everything else is better.’
Secretary Stoltenberg arrived at work with a contingent of media in tow; watching as the secretary received the welcome pack distributed to all NATO employees upon entering the new building headquarters.
After almost a year since President Donald Trump inaugurated the billion-dollar NATO headquarters at summit, the NATO alliance is moving in: leaving behind the prefab, 1960’s buildings that ‘leaked a bit’ during heavy rains.
About half the 4,200 total people working at NATO have moved in, with the May Day holiday used to establish the secretary and others within the new building.
Acting Deputy Spokesman Dylan White told of the transition process: “There’s still plenty to do in the next 2 months. We’re in a period named ‘dual operations,’which is running two headquarters at the same time.’ –
“So, we’re basically running a full set of services for 2,000 people on one side of the street and a full service of 2,000 people on this side of the street, with all the human resource and logistical challenges that entails.” said White.
The new NATO headquarters is a 2.7-million square foot (250,000 square meter) building, the size of 10 US football fields. It took over 7 years and more than $2b USD (€1.6b) to complete. The building was designed to look like inter-locking fingers; symbolizing the unity of NATO’s allies.
Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician and 13th Secretary General of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Secretary Stoltenberg served as Prime Minister of Norway 2000 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2013.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today