The good news for Welsh rugby is that Whitehouse's experience will not be lost totally to the game as the Gowerton-based official will continue to referee domestic rugby in Wales and support Wales's professional referees as much as possible.
"I have nothing but happy memories to take away from my time as an international referee," said Whitehouse, who took up the whistle after a knee injury brought to an end a promising playing career that peaked with a place in the Wales 'B' squad in the 1984-1985 season.
"The friendships I have formed will last with me forever and I would especially like to thank those who have supported me throughout my career; the hard-working WRU medical team, my fellow referees and assessors and of course my family. It will be strange departing the scene, but the time is right to concentrate wholly on my professional career as a Chief Inspector.
"But I would certainly encourage any young rugby player who is perhaps not going to make it at the highest level of the game to consider refereeing and enjoy the friendship and perhaps the camaraderie of being involved with such a great band of people like those involved in refereeing."
WRU Referees Manager Robert Yeman praised Whitehouse for his commitment throughout the professional era when he affectively held down two jobs.
"Nigel has given tremendous service to the game at International level and but for injuries would certainly have officiated in many more Test matches," said Yeman. "I am delighted that Nigel will continue to referee within Wales as his experience will be invaluable in assisting others to reach the top level."
Nigel took up refereeing at District level, officiating in the 1990 Welsh Districts Cup Final and rose through the WRU ranks before making his international debut in the Ireland v Japan match in 2000. He went on to officiate in 19 Test Matches, numerous Heineken Cup clashes and had the honour of refereeing three European Challenge Cup finals.
He was a touch-judge during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, having come back from breaking his leg a year earlier when he slipped on snow while in Russia to referee a qualifying game.
Turning down previous offers to turn full-time with the IRB, Whitehouse's final international appointment came in the Argentina v New Zealand match last June, although he is due to act as the Television Match Official for the upcoming England and France RBS Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
International Rugby Board Referees Manager Paddy O'Brien joined in with the praise, adding: "Nigel has been a senior IRB referee for the past four years and his retirement will certainly leave a hole in terms of experience within the Elite panel.
"Nigel has always been an outstanding performer and I have always admired his ability to bounce back from injury. On several occasions Nigel has been called up as a last-minute replacement to referee in major internationals and has performed excellently on every occasion.
"He was the ultimate team player and his retirement is indeed a loss to the international panel. The IRB would like to thank him for his excellent service."