Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was officially appointed as the next NATO secretary general on Wednesday morning. He will succeed Jens Stoltenberg on October 1,

NATO announced.

The appointment was confirmed by the ambassadors of the 32 NATO countries, who had already expressed unanimous support for Rutte following a lengthy campaign for the position.

Stoltenberg, who is stepping down after a decade in the role, welcomed the decision on social media, saying, "I warmly welcome NATO Allies’ choice of Mark Rutte as my successor. Mark is a true transatlanticist, a strong leader, and a consensus-builder. I wish him every success as we continue to strengthen NATO. I know I am leaving NATO in good hands."

It remains unclear whether Rutte will attend the NATO Summit in Washington D.C. in two weeks, which will mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary. However, NATO diplomats noted that Stoltenberg attended a NATO Summit as incoming secretary general ten years ago.

Stoltenberg's tenure extended longer than initially planned due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and rising tensions with Russia, which prompted NATO countries to repeatedly request his continuation for stability and experience.

Rutte’s appointment marks the fourth time a Dutch individual will lead NATO, the last being Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who served until 2009. This makes the Netherlands the country with the most leaders in the NATO secretary general position.

Rutte, 57, announced last summer his intention to leave Dutch politics after the fall of his fourth Cabinet. His transition to NATO secretary general will coincide with the establishment of the new Dutch Cabinet, ensuring a smooth handover. Photo by © European Union, 2024, Wikimedia commons.