Dutch Navy promotes woman to rank of Commodore in a new first

Jeanette Morang of the Dutch Navy
At age 41, Jeanette Morang became the first female to command a frigate. Jan. 12, 2007Photo: Gerben van Es, Audio-Visuale Dienst Defensie; Copyright: Netherlands Institute of Military History

Captain Jeanette Morang will be promoted to Commodore on Friday. She is the first woman to receive the highest rank in the Dutch Navy. The Dutch Armed Forces and the Dutch Air Force already appointed women to their highest officer ranks, NOS and RTV Rijnmond report.

The Dordrecht-born Morang, 54, started officer training at the navy in 1983. She worked at various posts in the Netherlands and abroad, both at sea and on the mainland. In 1997 she was the first woman to be placed in command of a naval ship, taking the reins of the Hr. Ms. Alkmaar. In 2007 Morang became the first female to command a Dutch frigate when she took over the bridge of the Hr. Ms. De Ruyter. After that she worked as a liaison officer at NATO in Brussels and at the Defense Ministry in The Hague.

In her new rank as Commander, Morang will work at the NATO Maritime Command Center in Northwood, England for three years.

"This is quite an achievement", military historian Petra Groen said to NOS. "Until the early 1980s, women in the armed forces were able to climb only to a limited height. That was also the case in the separate women's department." The separation between men and women was lifted in the Dutch armed forces in 1981.