Hoekstra tapped for ambassador to Netherlands

Melissa Nann Burke

Washington — The White House said Monday that President Donald Trump will nominate former Michigan U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra to be ambassador to the Netherlands – a nation to which he has deep ties.

Hoekstra, a Holland Republican, served in the U.S. House from 1993 to 2011, chairing the House Intelligence Committee and founding the Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands. Last year, he co-chaired Trump’s campaign in Michigan.

Since leaving Congress, he has lobbied for the firms Greenberg Traurig and Dickstein Shapiro and later started his own firm, Hoekstra Global Strategies.

His clients have included Columbia Helicopters and the Michigan-based oil production company Core Energy, as well as some foreign clients including the Kurdish regional government.

Hoekstra, 63, was born in the Netherlands in Groningen in 1953 and came to the United States at age 3 with his parents, who settled in the Dutch-American stronghold of Holland. He became a U.S. citizen at age 9.

He attended Holland Christian High School and graduated from Hope College in 1975. He then earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan.

Hoekstra worked for the Zeeland-based office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller, where he eventually served as vice president of marketing.

GOP lawmakers from Michigan praised the appointment Monday, including U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.

“Pete's heritage, deep-rooted ties to the Dutch community in West Michigan, and combination of public service and private sector experience make him uniquely qualified to serve as Ambassador to the Netherlands,” Huizenga said in a statement. “I cannot think of a better person to further strengthen the relationship between the United States and the Netherlands than Pete Hoekstra.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said Hoekstra “always had a passion for public service and a way of connecting with people that will continue the fruitful relationship we’ve long enjoyed with The Netherlands.”

“We look forward to seeing him at our annual Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan – a community where he is deeply loved and respected,” Upton said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Pete in his new capacity and urge the U.S. Senate to confirm him as soon as they are able.”

In 2008, the Dutch monarchy appointed Hoekstra an officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, a royal honor, in recognition of his service to the United States and the Netherlands.

Hoekstra retired from Congress in 2011 and unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor and the Senate seat occupied by Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Lansing. He has served as a member of the board of Gentex Corp. He is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a Shillman Senior Fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, according to the White House.

The Netherlands has a population of roughly 17 million people and was a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.


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