Jakob Gijsbert "Jaap" de Hoop Scheffer ( /jɑːp də hoːp ˈsxɛfər/ (help·info), born 3 April 1948) is a Dutch politician and a former NATO Secretary General. De Hoop Scheffer served as the Dutch foreign minister, and was an important figure in the Dutch decision to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In 2004, De Hoop Scheffer was chosen as the 11th NATO Secretary General, which he remained until 2009.
Born in Amsterdam, De Hoop Scheffer graduated with an LLM from Leiden University in 1974. After completing military service in the air force, where he became a reserve officer, he worked for the ministry of foreign affairs from 1976 to 1986. For the first two years, he was stationed at the Dutch embassy in Ghana. After that, he worked at the Dutch delegation at NATO headquarters in Brussels until 1980.
Although he has been a member of the D66 party, he became a member of the Christen-Democratisch Appèl (CDA) in 1982. At the elections of 1986, he was elected to the House of Representatives. He was a spokesman on foreign affairs for his party. Between 1997 and 2001, he was the leader of the CDA delegation in the House of Representatives, at a time when the CDA was in opposition. This made him the party leader.