Derk has a degree in Scandinavian Languages and Dutch Law (Utrecht university 1983). He served as a Platoon Commander in the Netherlands Marine Corps and worked as a logistics manager for the World Food Programme in the Sudan before joining the  Netherlands’ Foreign Service in 1987.

In his 26 years as a diplomat, he spent most of his time on European affairs. Between 1988 and 2006 he represented The Netherlands in several foreign policy working groups and committees in Brussels and was deputy director for European Affairs and Secretary to the EU Coordination Committee, the inter-departmental body responsible for NL positioning in all EU Council formations.

During these years, Derk was closely involved in the 1996 re-organisation of the Foreign Ministry and the organisation of the Netherlands’ EU Presidencies in 1997 and 2004. In 2006, he moved to Berlin, where he served as deputy ambassador to Germany. Apart from political and economic bilateral affairs, he also was responsible for the re-structuring of the Netherlands’ consulates in Germany.

After four years in Berlin Derk continued his career in EU negotiation in 2010 as deputy Permanent Representative to the EU in Brussels, preparing ministerial decisions in a broad range of EU policies ranging from agriculture and fisheries, the Internal Market, Social Affairs, Education, Climate, Transport and the Digital Agenda. One of his achievements in this position was a decisive contribution to the unblocking of the European Patent.

In 2013 Derk joined the international media, communications and broadband company Liberty Global as Managing Director for Public Policy. In his seven years with the company he focused on EU telecommunications legislation and eastern-European affairs, oversaw the production of a series of policy studies and was involved in public affairs in the Caribbean region for the Liberty Global affiliate Cable and Wireless. He also contributed to the company’s participation in the World Economic Forum and Mobile World Congress.

In May 2020 Derk started his own consultancy in European strategic affairs, building bridges between people and cultures in the public and private sector. He continues to work as a guest lecturer at the University of Maastricht and is a Senior Adviser to the Brussels based consultancy FIPRA. Derk and his wife Helene Anders live in Berlin. In their spare time, they restore an old farmhouse. Derk enjoys sports, literature and music and has one adult son.

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