Speeches and articles


Jan Kleijssen was born in 1958 in Almelo, The Netherlands. He studied International Law at Utrecht State University (LLM in 1981) and International Affairs at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Ottawa (MA 1982). He then did his military service as a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Jan joined the Council of Europe in 1983 as a Lawyer with the European Commission of Human Rights. In 1987, he was appointed to the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly and was Secretary to the Political Affairs Committee from 1990 to 1999.

Jan then served as the Director of the Secretary General's Private Office until 2004 and subsequently as Director in the Parliamentary Assembly and Special Advisor to the President.

In 2006, he moved to the Directorate General of Human Rights and was Director of Standard-setting until 2011 when he was appointed to his current function of Director of Information Society - Action against Crime, Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law.

His Directorate carries out standard-setting, monitoring and co-operation activities on a wide variety of issues, including:

Jan has been Chair of the Council of Europe’s Disciplinary Board since 2015.

He acts as the Council of Europe Internet Governance Coordinator since 2018.

In May 2018, the Secretary General appointed Jan to lead the work on the proposals for the future of the Council of Europe following the Elsinore Ministerial Session. These served as a basis for the Ministerial Session in Helsinki in May 2019, celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Council of Europe.

Onalytica, a marketing software platform, in July 2019 included Jan among the Top 100 influencers on the regulation of new technologies.

Besides his mother tongue Dutch, Jan is fully fluent in English, French, German and Italian.

He takes a great interest in history and cinema and is also a keen marathon runner.

Selected publications: