The Prime Minister of the Netherlands (Dutch: Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his capacity as chair of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is de facto the head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates its policy with his cabinet. The current Dutch Prime Minister is Mark Rutte, in office since 2010.
|Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Minister-president van Nederland
State Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
since 14 October 2010
|Ministry of General Affairs|
|Member of||Council of Ministers|
|Residence||Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands|
|Seat||Torentje, The Hague, Netherlands|
as King of the Netherlands
|Term length||4 years|
No term limit
|Formation||25 March 1848 |
as Chairman of the Council of Ministers
24 June 1945
|First holder||Gerrit Schimmelpenninck |
as Chairman of the Council of Ministers
|Deputy||Deputy Prime Minister|
|Salary||€144,000 (incl. €7,887.24 expenses)|
|Website||Ministry of General Affairs|
Although the Prime Minister is the leading political figure in the Netherlands, he is not as powerful as the British Prime Minister and the German Chancellor. This is mainly because, historically, all Dutch ministers used to be responsible to the Monarch; ministers took turns to fill the position of Prime Minister, and in the role had little if any control over the other ministers. The Prime Minister's role gained importance when ministers became responsible to the parliament, and the position became mostly reserved for the leader of the biggest political party in the House of Representatives. Still, because the position holds limited powers compared to its equivalent in other neighboring parliamentary democracies, the Prime Minister role is described as primus inter pares ("first among equals").
Following the constitutional review of 1983, the position of Prime Minister was formalized in the Dutch Constitution for the first time. According to the Constitution of the Netherlands, the Government is constituted by the King and the ministers. The Constitution stipulates that the Prime Minister chairs the Council of Ministers (article 45) and is appointed by royal decree (article 43). The royal decree of their own appointment and those of the other ministers are to be countersigned by the Prime Minister (article 48). The Council of Ministers is no longer nowadays attended by the King.
The Prime Minister chairs the weekly meetings of the Council of Ministers and has the power to set the agenda of these meetings. The prime minister is also Minister of General Affairs (Minister van Algemene Zaken), which takes an important role in coordinating policy and is responsible for the Government Information Service (Dutch: Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst). The Prime Minister is also responsible for the royal house and has a weekly meeting with the King on government policy. Informally the Prime Minister functions as the "face" of the cabinet to the public. After the meetings of the cabinet on Friday, the Prime Minister hosts a press conference on the decisions of the cabinet and current affairs. The Prime Minister also has some functions in international affairs, attending the European Council every six months and maintaining bilateral contacts. The Prime Minister's office is a hexagon shaped tower, named "The Little Tower" (Torentje), in the Binnenhof in The Hague. The official residence (which is only used for official functions) is the Catshuis; the last Prime Minister to live in the Catshuis was Dries van Agt. Incumbent Mark Rutte lives in a flat downtown The Hague. The Prime Minister has no security detail.
Although the Prime Minister is almost always the political leader of his party and a member of the House of Representatives, he is required to give up his seat for the duration of his tenure, as Dutch ministers are not allowed to be members of parliament.
The Dutch electoral system makes it all but impossible for one party to win an outright majority in the House of Representatives; no party has done so since 1900. Hence, Dutch governments are always coalitions between two or more parties. After each election, the House appoints a "scout" to seek advice on how to interpret the election results. On the basis of this advice, the House appoints an informateur to check on prospective coalitions and lead negotiations between potential partners. If successful, the House then appoints a formateur, who concludes the talks between the members of the prospective coalition. The formateur is almost always the leader of the largest party in the prospective coalition, and thus de facto Prime Minister-designate. Prior to 2012, the monarch had a considerable role in these talks, but reforms in 2012 largely eliminated royal influence on the process.
It usually takes several months of negotiations before a formateur is ready to accept a formal royal invitation to form a government. The monarch then appoints the ministers and state secretaries (junior ministers), who then resign their seats in the House.
A minister from the smaller coalition party usually becomes Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands. If there is a third or fourth party in the coalition, each has the right to name one of its ministers second and third Deputy Prime Minister.
For a list of historic Prime Ministers, see List of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands. For a list of Prime Ministers by age, see List of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands by age. For a list of Prime Ministers by religious affiliations, see Religious affiliations of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands.
Gradually the Prime Minister became an official function of government leader, taken by the political leader of the largest party. Since 1848 the role of the first minister has become relevant. In that year the Constitution of the Netherlands was amended to make ministers responsible to the States General rather than – as hitherto – being responsible to the King, who acted as the leader of cabinet. Until 1901 the position chair of the Council of Ministers officially rotated between ministers. Between 1901 and 1945 the position formally still rotated but prominent politicians were able to claim a rotation period of four years.
In 1937 a separate Ministry of General Affairs was instituted which was informally linked to the Prime Minister. Barend Biesheuvel (1971–1973) was the last Prime Minister who was not the political leader of the largest party in cabinet, but actually of the third largest. In 1983 the function of Prime Minister was laid down in the constitution.
The position of the Prime Minister has been enforced by the creation of the European Council. In November 2006, the rules of procedure of the council of ministers was changed to allow the Prime Minister to put any item on the agenda of the council, whereas before he had to wait for a minister to take the initiative. A change of the rules of procedure of the cabinet in July 2008 allowed the Prime Minister to direct other ministers on the costs of the Royal House, which are covered by several ministries.
As of October 2018, there are three Prime Ministers of the Netherlands currently living, the oldest being Dries van Agt. The most recent former Prime Minister to die was Wim Kok who served 1994–2002 and died on 20 October 2018 at the age of 80 years, 21 days.
The Prime Minister is also Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and therefore also deals with matters affecting the other countries Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten in the Kingdom. The independent cabinets of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten also have their own prime ministers: Evelyn Wever-Croes (Prime Minister of Aruba), Eugene Rhuggenaath (Prime Minister of Curaçao), and Leona Marlin-Romeo (Prime Minister of Sint Maarten). The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands includes Minister Plenipotentiary from the other countries of the Kingdom. These are not included in the government of the Kingdom.
The King appoints Deputy Prime Ministers. Conventionally, all of the junior partners in the coalition get one Deputy Prime Minister; they are ranked according to the size of their respective parties. The senior deputy present chairs the cabinet meeting when the Prime minister is not present. In the current Third Rutte cabinet, Hugo de Jonge chairs those meetings as first Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, with the other deputies being Kajsa Ollongren and Carola Schouten. The oldest member of the cabinet chairs the meeting when the Prime Minister and all deputies are absent.
The Vice Minister-President of the Netherlands (Dutch: Viceminister-president van Nederland), commonly referred to in English as the Deputy Prime Minister, is the official deputy of the head of government of the Netherlands. In the absence of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands the Deputy Prime Minister takes over his functions, such as chairing the Cabinet of the Netherlands and the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands. Conventionally, all of the junior partners in the coalition get one deputy, and the deputies are ranked according to the size of their respective parties. The incumbent Deputy Prime Ministers are Hugo de Jonge (Christian Democratic Appeal), Kajsa Ollongren (Democrats 66) and Carola Schouten (ChristianUnion).Dries van Agt
Andreas Antonius Maria "Dries" van Agt (Dutch: [ˈdris fɑn ˈɑxt] (listen); born 2 February 1931) is a retired Dutch politician, judge, diplomat and activist who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 19 December 1977 until 4 November 1982.
A jurist by occupation, Van Agt worked as a lawyer for the law firm Van der Putt, Nijst, Van Sandick en Depla from 1956 until 1958 when he became a civil servant working for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Justice until 1968. Van Agt became a professor of criminal procedure at the Radboud University Nijmegen in 1968. In 1971 he was appointed as a judge at the court of Arnhem. After the election of 1971, he was asked by the Catholic People's Party (KVP) to become Minister of Justice in the First Biesheuvel cabinet. Van Agt accepted and resigned as a professor and judge the same day he took office as the new Minister of Justice on 6 July 1971. Van Agt remained Minister of Justice in the Den Uyl cabinet following the election of 1972 and also became Deputy Prime Minister on 11 May 1973. On 10 December 1976 Van Agt was selected as the first Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal and became the lijsttrekker (top candidate) for the election of 1977. He resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice to become the first parliamentary leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal in the House of Representatives and a Member of the House of Representatives taking office on 8 June 1977. Following the election the Christian Democratic Appeal became the second largest party in the House of Representatives.
After a failed cabinet formation with the Labour Party, Van Agt struck a deal with the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy Hans Wiegel that resulted in the formation of the First Van Agt cabinet, also known as Van Agt–Wiegel cabinet, with Van Agt becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands taking office on 19 December 1977. With the following election of 1981, Van Agt again as lijsttrekker lost one seat and a coalition formation with the Labour Party and the Democrats 66 (D66) resulted in the second Van Agt cabinet. On 29 May 1982 the Second Van Agt cabinet collapsed after the Labour Party retracted their support. A third cabinet was formed with Van Agt also serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Third Van Agt cabinet stayed in office until the election of 1982. Van Agt again as lijsttrekker lost three seats and the Christian Democratic Appeal became the second largest party. A cabinet formation with the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) was formed but Van Agt unexpectedly announced his retirement from national politics and stood down as Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal on 25 October 1982. Van Agt remained Prime Minister of the Netherlands until the First Lubbers cabinet was installed on 4 November 1982.
After his premiership, Van Agt remained in active politics and became the Queen's Commissioner of North Brabant taking office on 1 June 1983. On 22 April 1987 Van Agt resigned as Queen's Commissioner because of criticism on his cooperation with the States-Provincial. Van Agt he became a diplomat for the European Communities and served as Ambassador of the European Union to Japan from 1 April 1987 until 1 January 1990 when he became Ambassador of the European Union to the United States serving until 1 April 1995 when he retired from politics at the age of sixty-four. Following the end of his active political career, Van Agt occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards on international non-governmental organizations (InterAction Council, Green Cross International and the Edmund Burke Foundation). Van Agt served as a visiting professor of international relations at the Ritsumeikan University, the United Nations University and the Kwansei Gakuin University from 1995 until 2004.
Van Agt is known for his abilities as a negotiator and debater. During his premiership, his cabinets were responsible for reforming the public sector and civil service and the struggle with the recession in the 1980s. He holds the distinction of being the first Christian Democratic Appeal Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Van Agt also has been active as an anti-war and human rights activist and as an advocate in promoting the Two-state solution for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Van Agt continues to comment on political affairs as a statesman. With the death of Piet de Jong in July 2016, he became the oldest living former Dutch Prime Minister.Emily de Jongh-Elhage
Emily Saïdy de Jongh-Elhage (born December 7, 1946) was the last Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles from 26 March 2006 until their dissolution on 10 October 2010. She was also leader of the Party for the Restructured Antilles and member of the Estates of Curaçao.Floris Adriaan van Hall
Floris Adriaan, Baron van Hall (15 May 1791 – 29 March 1866) was a prominent Dutch nobleman and statesman in the 19th century. He played an important role as representative of the Amsterdam trade and banking sector, and later as politician. He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1853 to 1856, and again from 1860 to 1861.Gerrit de Vries (politician)
Gerrit Abrahamszoon de Vries (22 February 1818 – 4 March 1900) was a Dutch jurist and politician who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 4 June 1872 to 27 August 1874.Hugo de Jonge
Hugo Mattheüs de Jonge (born 26 September 1977) is a Dutch politician serving as first Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport since 26 October 2017 in the Third Rutte cabinet. He is a member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).Jan Kappeyne van de Coppello
Joannes "Jan" Kappeyne van de Coppello (2 October 1822 – 28 July 1895) was a Dutch liberal politician. He was prime minister of the Netherlands between 1877 and 1879.Jan Peter Balkenende
Jan Pieter "Jan Peter" Balkenende Jr. (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɑn ˈpeːtər ˈbɑlkənˌɛndə] (listen); born 7 May 1956) is a retired Dutch politician who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 to 14 October 2010. He is a member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
A jurist by occupation, Balkenende became a professor of Christian theology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 1993. He was elected to the House of Representatives following the general election of 1998, serving from 19 May 1998 until 22 July 2002. After the then Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal and parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Jaap de Hoop Scheffer stepped down after an internal power struggle between him and then party chair Marnix van Rij, Balkenende was selected to succeed him in both positions, and became lijsttrekker (top candidate) for the Dutch general election of 2002. The Christian Democratic Appeal became the surprising winner of the election, gaining 14 seats becoming the largest party in the House of Representatives. This success was in part owed to Balkenende's neutral attitude in the debates with Pim Fortuyn, the eponymous leader of the Pim Fortuyn List party who was assassinated during the national election campaign on 6 May 2002.
The following cabinet formation resulted in a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal, Pim Fortuyn List (LPF) and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) which formed the First Balkenende cabinet with Balkenende becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands taking office on 22 July 2002. The cabinet Balkenende I collapsed on 16 October after just 87 days in office after internal conflicts within the Pim Fortuyn List that destabilised the government. For the Dutch general election of 2003, Balkenende again as lijsttrekker won one seat and the following cabinet formation resulted in a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Democrats 66 (D66) which formed the Second Balkenende cabinet. On 29 June 2006 the Democrats 66 retracted their support for the cabinet Balkenende II after criticising the way Minister for Integration and Immigration Rita Verdonk (VVD) had handled the crisis around the naturalisation of her party fellow elected to the House of Representatives Ayaan Hirsi Ali. On 7 July 2006 a rump cabinet Third Balkenende cabinet was formed and stayed in office until the Dutch general election of 2006. Balkenende again as lijsttrekker lost three seats but the Christian Democratic Appeal remained by far the largest party with 41 seats. The following 2006–2007 cabinet formation resulted in a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal, the Labour Party (PvdA) and the Christian Union (CU) that formed the Fourth Balkenende cabinet. On 20 February 2010 the Labour Party retracted their support for the cabinet Balkenende IV after a disagreement over the extension of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. For the Dutch general election of 2010, Balkenende was appointed again as lijsttrekker, but his party lost 20 seats; he resigned his position as Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal on 9 June, taking political responsibility for the disappointing results in the election. Balkenende remained Prime Minister of the Netherlands until the First Rutte cabinet was installed on 14 October 2010.
After his premiership, Balkenende retired from active politics at the age of fifty-four and serves as a professor of Governance, Institutions and Internationalisation at the Erasmus University Rotterdam since 1 December 2010. Following the end of his active political career, Balkenende worked as a Partner Corporate Responsibility for Ernst & Young from 1 April 2011 until 1 July 2017.Jan de Quay
Jan Eduard de Quay (26 August 1901 – 4 July 1985) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 19 May 1959 until 24 July 1963.
He previously served as Minister of War from 4 April 1945 until 24 June 1945 in the Cabinet Gerbrandy III. He became Queen's Commissioner of North Brabant serving from 1 November 1946 until 19 May 1959. After the Dutch general election of 1959, de Quay became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading the Cabinet De Quay. And as acting Minister of Defence from 1 August 1959 until 4 September 1959 following the resignation of Sidney J. van den Bergh.
After his premiership, De Quay remained in active politics and became a Member of the Senate from 25 June 1963 until 22 November 1966 when he became Minister of Transport and Water Management and Deputy Prime Minister in the caretaker Cabinet Zijlstra serving from 22 November 1966 until 5 April 1967. He became again a Member of the Senate serving from 13 June 1967 until 16 September 1969.Jo Cals
Jozef Maria Laurens Theo "Jo" Cals (18 July 1914 – 30 December 1971) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 14 April 1965 until 22 November 1966.
He previously served as a Member of the House of Representatives from 19 August 1948 until 15 March 1950, when he became State Secretary for Education, Arts and Sciences serving from 15 March 1950 until 2 September 1952 in the Drees-Van Schaik and Drees I cabinets. He became Minister of Education, Arts and Sciences serving from 2 September 1952 until 24 July 1963 in the Drees II and III, Beel II and De Quay cabinets. He again returned to the House of Representatives for two short periods, after the 1956 and 1959 general elections. Serving from 3 July 1956 until 3 October 1956 and from 20 March 1959 until 19 May 1959. And again a Member of the House of Representatives from 2 July 1963 until 14 April 1965. After the fall of the Marijnen cabinet, Cals became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading the Cals cabinet.After his premiership, Cals semi-retired from active politics and served as a civil servant leading several governmental commissions. On 5 December 1966 he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State, which he held until his death.List of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands
The following is a list of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands since the inception of that office as a result of a revision of the Constitution of the Netherlands in 1848. The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Council of Ministers; since 1945 he has held the Dutch title of minister-president van Nederland, also referred to as premier.
Mark Rutte is currently serving as the 50th and current Prime Minister of the Netherlands, having been appointed to the office for the first time on 14 October 2010.Mark Rutte
Mark Rutte (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɑrk ˈrʏtə] (listen); born 14 February 1967) is a Dutch politician serving as the 50th and current Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2010 and Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie – VVD) since 2006. Rutte was previously appointed as State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment from 22 July 2002 to 17 June 2004 and as State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science from 17 June 2004 until 27 June 2006, when he was elected to succeed Jozias van Aartsen as the new VVD Leader.At the 2006 general election, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, already under Rutte, lost six seats, and he became Leader of the Opposition. At the following general election in 2010, the VVD won the highest number of votes cast, resulting in them occupying 31 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives. After a long formation period, Rutte became Prime Minister and formed the First Rutte cabinet. When Rutte was sworn in on 14 October 2010, he became the first liberal Prime Minister of the Netherlands in 92 years. He offered his government's resignation on 23 April 2012, after an impasse in talks on an austerity budget, prompting a general election in which the VVD won its highest number of seats ever, which led to the formation of the Second Rutte cabinet, a coalition between the VVD and the Labour Party.
At the 2017 general election, the VVD lost seats but remained the largest party, while the Labour Party saw a massive loss in vote share and seats, which necessitated a new coalition between the VVD, Christian Democratic Appeal, Democrats 66 and Christian Union. After a record-long formation period, the Third Rutte cabinet was installed by King Willem-Alexander on 26 October 2017.Piet de Jong
Petrus Jozef Sietse "Piet" de Jong (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpeːtrɵs ˈjoːzəf ˈsitsə ˈpit də ˈjɔŋ]; 3 April 1915 – 27 July 2016) was a Dutch politician and naval officer who was Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 5 April 1967 to 6 July 1971. He was a member of the Catholic People's Party (KVP), which later merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
De Jong joined the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Service and served on HNLMS O 24 during the Second World War, ending the war as the commanding officer of that vessel. During his service he was awarded the Bronze Cross twice, as well as the Distinguished Service Cross of the United Kingdom. After World War II De Jong continued to serve in the navy, commanding the HNLMS De Zeeuw from 1951 until 1952 and the HNLMS Gelderland from 1958 until 1959. Between his two assignments as commanding officer he served as chief of staff to Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld and aide-de-camp to Queen Juliana.
De Jong served as Undersecretary for the Navy from 1959 until 1963, then Minister of Defence from 1963 until 1967. After the Dutch general election of 1967, De Jong became Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of General Affairs, leading the Cabinet de Jong. Despite his popularity, the Catholic People's Party refused to nominate him as the lijsttrekker (top candidate) for the 1971 general election because of his alleged "conservative image".After his premiership, De Jong remained in active politics and became the Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party in the Senate and a Member of the Senate serving from 1971 until 1974, and finally retired from active politics at the age of fifty-nine. Following the end of his active political career, De Jong occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards in business and industry.
De Jong was known for his dry wit and quick remarks. His abilities as a team leader with perspective and pragmatism were greatly admired. The Cabinet De Jong was the first cabinet after World War II that completed a full term without any internal conflicts. By the time of his death in 2016 at the age of 101, he was the oldest and earliest serving former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the oldest living state leader.Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles
Below is a list of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Antilles from 1951 to 2010. In 2010 the position of Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles was abolished, together with the dissolution of the country itself.Theo Heemskerk
Theodorus "Theo" Heemskerk (20 July 1852 – 12 June 1932) was a Dutch politician of the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 12 February 1908 until 29 August 1913.Heemskerk is particularly known as the founder of the Dutch poverty and vaccination laws. His father Jan Heemskerk also served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands.Victor Marijnen
Victor Gerard Marie "Vic" Marijnen (21 February 1917 – 5 April 1975) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 24 July 1963 until 14 April 1965.
Marijnen a Civil servant by occupation, he worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries from 1941 until 1957. Marijnen became General-Secretary of the Roman Catholic employers' organizations in the Netherlands in 1957. Marijnen was asked to become Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries after the Dutch general election of 1959 in the De Quay cabinet under Prime Minister Jan de Quay of his own party. Marijnen took office as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries on 19 May 1959. Marijnen served as acting Minister of Social Affairs and Health from 3 July 1961 until 17 July 1961 following the resignation of Charles van Rooy. He served a short period as a Member of the House of Representatives from 2 July 1963 until 24 July 1963. After the Dutch general election of 1963, Marijnen became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading the Marijnen cabinet.
After his premiership, Marijnen remained in active politics and became again a Member of the House of Representatives from 27 April 1965 until 14 January 1966. He later became Mayor of The Hague serving from 16 October 1968 until his death from a heart attack on 5 April 1975.Willem Drees
Willem Drees Sr. (Dutch pronunciation ; 5 July 1886 – 14 May 1988) was a Dutch statesman who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 7 August 1948 to 22 December 1958. He was the first Leader of the Labour Party (PvdA), assuming the position from 9 February 1946 until the end of his premiership.
Born in Amsterdam, Drees, a civil servant and accountant by occupation, worked as a bank teller from 1903 until 1906 and as a stenographer for the States General of the Netherlands from 1907 until 1945. He served as a member of the House of Representatives from 9 May 1933 to 24 June 1945 while retaining his previous employment. In October 1940 he was taken hostage in Buchenwald concentration camp for resisting orders given by German occupiers but was freed one year later; his parliamentary mandate had not been revoked. He served as the parliamentary leader of the Social Democratic Workers' Party in the House of Representatives from 19 August 1939 until 24 June 1945 when he became Minister of Social Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister serving from 24 June 1945 until 7 August 1948 in the Schermerhorn–Drees cabinet and First Beel cabinet. He served again a short periode as a member of the House of Representatives, after the general election of 1946 from 4 June 1946 until 4 July 1946. After the general election of 1948, Drees became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, leading the First, Second, Third and Fourth Drees cabinets. He also served as Acting Minister of Colonial Affairs from 15 March 1951 until 31 March 1951 and as Acting Minister of Finance from 1 July 1952 until 2 September 1952, following the resignations of Johannes Henricus van Maarseveen and Piet Lieftinck respectively. He again had two short stints as a member of the House of Representatives after the general election of 1952 and 1952, serving from 15 July 1952 until 2 September 1952 and from 3 July 1956 until 3 October 1956.Drees most notably led the country through the North Sea flood of 1953 and was the second oldest person who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands after Johan Rudolph Thorbecke, who died in office at the age of seventy-four. On 22 December 1958 he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State. He remained a very active observer of Dutch politics, publishing a substantial number of books and articles until the age of ninety-seven. Willem Drees was the longest-lived Dutch Prime Minister, dying at the age of 101 years, 314 days, on 14 May 1988 in The Hague. He is praised by many as the most important Dutch politician after World War II for his important contributions and social reforms laws and seen as the father of the modern welfare state in the Netherlands. Drees was chosen as the best Prime Minister of the Netherlands after World War II after an opinion polling conducted by the VPRO in 2006.Wim Kok
Willem "Wim" Kok (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪm ˈkɔk] (listen); 29 September 1938 – 20 October 2018) was a Dutch politician who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 August 1994 until 22 July 2002. He was a member of the Labour Party (PvdA).
Kok, a trade union leader by profession, worked for the Netherlands Association of Trade Unions from 1961 until 1976, when it merged to form the Federation Netherlands Labour Movement. Kok served as its first chairman from 1976 until 1986 when he left to enter the House of Representatives as a Labour politician. After the general election of 1994 Kok became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, taking office on 22 August 1994. In the following general election in 1998 Kok's party gained eight seats and the coalition retained its majority with a new cabinet being formed, continuing its policies. On 15 December 2001 Kok announced his retirement from national politics and stood down as Leader of the Labour Party that same day. He remained Prime Minister of the Netherlands until the First Balkenende cabinet was installed on 22 July 2002, semi-retiring from active politics at the age of 63.After his premiership, Kok became a lobbyist for the European Union and presided over several "high-level groups". He served various roles on supervisory boards in the worlds of business and industry as well as several international non-governmental organizations.
Kok was known for his abilities as a manager and negotiator. During his premiership, his cabinets were responsible for implementing several social reforms and further reducing the deficit. He held the distinction of leading the first purple coalitions as Prime Minister of the Netherlands. On 11 April 2003, he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State.
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