Changes in the military leadership

Lieutenant General Martin Wijnen will take up his position as Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army on 28 August. He will succeed Lieutenant General Leo Beulen, who will retire from the armed forces. Wijnen is currently still the Deputy Chief of Defence, but Lieutenant General Onno Eichelsheim will take over this role on 1 July.

Luitenant-generaal Martin Wijnen.
Lieutenant General Martin Wijnen.

On 13 June, his current role as Director of the Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) will be handed over to Jan Swillens, who by then will have been promoted to the rank of major general.   The Commander of 1 (GE/NL) Corps, Lieutenant General Michiel van der Laan, will become Head of the Permanent Military Representation to NATO and the European Union on 1 July.


In 1989, Martin Wijnen completed his training programme in civil and hydraulic engineering at the Royal Military Academy (KMA).  After a posting in Germany, he joined the staff of 1 Division ‘7 December’ in Schaarsbergen in 1992. The countries he was deployed to include Cambodia, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.  In 2010, Wijnen was detached with the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism. After his spell as commander of 43 Mechanised Brigade, he started as Deputy Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army in January 2016.  Since July 2017, Martin Wijnen has been the Vice Chief of Defence. From 1 July this year, he will prepare to assume command of the Royal Netherlands Army.

Generaal-majoor Onno Eichelsheim.
The new Deputy Chief of Defence on 1 July.


After his training at the Royal Military Academy, Eichelsheim completed elementary flight training in 1990 and became a helicopter pilot.  In 2000, he was responsible for the planning of the first deployment of an Apache detachment to Djibouti during UN operation UNMEE. In 2005, Eichelsheim became Commander of 302 Squadron, which he merged with 301 Squadron to form 1 squadron.  So far, he has 5 deployments to his name: 3 to Bosnia and 2 to Afghanistan. Since April 2016, Eichelsheim has been Head of the Netherlands Defence Intelligence and Security Service, MIVD.

Brigadegeneraal Jan Swillens.
The new Director of the Defence Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) Jan Swillers.


Swillens started his military career in 1985 as an infantry officer at the  Royal Military Academy. He subsequently attended the Commando Corps (KTC) training programme and acquired his green beret. In July 2012, Swillens became Commander of the Commando Corps. He was subsequently given command of 43 Mechanised Brigade.

Luitenant-generaal Michiel van der Laan.
Lieutenant General Michiel van der Laan.

Van der Laan

After his officer training programme at the Royal Military Academy, Van der Laan was posted to his first operational positions with 103 Reconnaissance Battalion in the German town of Seedorf. After his recent postings as Commander of 13 Mechanised Brigade (today 13 Light Brigade) and Director of Operations with the Defence Staff, in 2016 he returned to Germany as Commander of 1 (GE/NL) Corps.