NATO marks 75th anniversary as foreign ministers meet in Brussels

  • 04 Apr. 2024 -
  • |
  • Last updated: 04 Apr. 2024 18:07

Foreign Ministers gathered at NATO Headquarters on Thursday (4 April 2024) to mark 75 years since the signing of the Alliance’s founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty. Since 1949, the Alliance has ensured peace, democracy and prosperity for its members, now counting 32 Allies and one billion people on both sides of the Atlantic. This year’s NATO Day comes just weeks after Sweden joined as the thirty-second member of the Alliance.

Monuments throughout the Brussels are marking NATO’s anniversary. In Parc du Cinquantenaire, the NATO flag is flying under the Memorial Arch

In a speech marking the anniversary, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed that “NATO is bigger, stronger, and more united than ever”. He welcomed that the founding treaty, normally kept in Washington, D.C., was on display at NATO Headquarters for the first time, saying: "never has a single document with so few words meant so much to so many people. So much security, so much prosperity, and so much peace. All because of its solemn promise: that we stand together, and protect one another, as we have for 75 years." Admiral Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, stated that across Europe and North America, 3.5 million men and women in uniform are upholding a shield against aggression. “Together, we are protecting much more than physical safety. We are collectively defending freedom and democracy,” Admiral Bauer said.

Manneken Pis statue in NATO blue

Twelve Allied Foreign Ministers delivered statements to mark their 25th (Czechia, Hungary, Poland), 20th (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia), and 15th (Albania, Croatia) accession anniversaries. As the host nation, the Belgian Foreign Minister delivered a speech and offered a 75th anniversary cake. The commemorations also included a wreath-laying ceremony and a live musical performance by The Royal Band of the Belgian Air Force and The Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Monuments throughout Brussels also marked NATO’s anniversary. In Parc du Cinquantenaire, the NATO flag flew under the Memorial Arch, and buildings in the city were illuminated in NATO blue, including the City Hall of Brussels and the Egmont Palace. The iconic Manneken Pis statue, one of the best-known symbols of Brussels, donned a special NATO Day costume to join the festivities. Other Allies also marked the anniversary with events including public discussions, musical performances and the illumination of buildings in NATO blue.