NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)

Formed following signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949, the aim of NATO and its 26 members is to ensure the safety and freedom of its member nations.

Less than five miles from downtown Brussels and I'm somewhat shocked cycling up to Nato's headquarters. Why? I imagined it would located in a somewhat isolated area with a big buffer zone around it and turns out to be completely the opposite. Office buildings practically butt up to the place with all sporting well-known names of global companies.

Before one can check in with security guards at the gated entry one has to pass muster with security personnel manning barricades before the gated entry. After passing both of those I'm directed to another building where I undergo another security check.

After a few minutes wait I'm meeting with Ambassador Ed Kronenburg, Director-Private Office of the Secretary General. Nato has been on this site since 1967. About 1,300 personnel work here. Three floors is the tallest building with all the structures having the same blah 1960's look too them. Parking is free and plentiful, smoking is not permitted in the workplace, and onsite recreational facilities includes a swimming pool and tennis courts. There's a formal dress code, special parking spots for those who cycle to work and the cafeteria serves hot food. The nearest freeway is practically next door and so is Brussels airport.

I ask Kronenburg about an article read in a magazine mentioning new offices are in the works. It's true but they will still be located on these premises. Nothing special to report as I check out Secretary General Jakob de Hoop's first floor corner office. The view out his window? The grounds and other buildings.