On 16th of August 1999, the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL) hold the opening ceremony of its very first and most important course - Senior Staff Course, now known as Joint Command and General Staff Course. Today, 20 years later on this symbolic day, we had the pleasure to host Brigadier General (ret) Michael H. Clemmesen, first Commandant and “Godfather” of the College, and several distinguished guest at BALTDEFCOL.
The General and honoured guests gathered for a formal ceremony during which a conference room was officially named in honour of BG Clemmesen. It serves as a recognition of his determination and dedication that led to the establishment of the Baltic Defence College in late 1990s and his tireless efforts in leading the College between 1998-2004. As Major General Andis Dilāns, current Commandant of BALTDEFCOL, put it in his remarks, if it was not for BG Clemmesen and his strong personality, BALTDEFCOL would not exist today.
BG Clemmesen expressed his gratitude to the College family. He reflected on the history of the College and the building complex BALTDEFCOL now inhabits. The General explained the reasons why the photos of selected officers and civilians now decorate the walls of “The Brigadier General Michael H. Clemmesen Conference Room” alongside the first flag of the College. BG Clemmesen also signed a dedication page and presented his Class A uniform for the collection of the Museum of the Estonian Military Academy.
Throughout the years, it has become a tradition at the College to name the rooms after the persons or events that have played a significant role in the history of the Baltic states and/or the Baltic Defence College itself.
BG (ret) Michael H. Clemmesen’s service at the Baltic states started in 1994 when he became the Defence Attaché of Denmark to the Baltic countries. He served in this position until 1998, after which he became the founder and the first Commandant of the Baltic Defence College. In 2004, he retired from the Danish armed forces after leaving the College. He is currently Senior Research Fellow (em.) at the Institute for Military History, Cultural Understanding and War Studies at the Royal Danish Defence College.