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.