Ben Bot

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His Excellency
Ben Bot
Ben Bot, geweest.jpg
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
December 3, 2003 – February 22, 2007
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Succeeded by Maxime Verhagen
Permanent Representative to the European Union
In office
October 1, 1992 – January 1, 2003
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by Unknown
Ambassador to Turkey
In office
January 1, 1986 – January 1, 1989
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by Unknown
Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO
In office
January 1, 1982 – January 1, 1986
Preceded by Unknown
Succeeded by Unknown
Personal details
Born Bernard Rudolf Bot
(1937-11-21) November 21, 1937 (age 76)
Batavia, Dutch East Indies
Nationality Dutch
Political party Christian Democratic Appeal
(from 1980)
Other political
Catholic People's Party
(until 1980)
Children 3 children
Alma mater Leiden University (Master of Laws, Doctor of Philosophy)
Harvard University (Master of Laws)
Occupation Diplomat
Civil servant
Corporate director
Religion Roman Catholicism

Bernard Rudolf "Ben" Bot (born November 21, 1937) is a Dutch diplomat of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 3, 2003 until February 22, 2007 in the Cabinets Balkenende II and III. A career diplomat, he succeed then Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaap de Hoop Scheffer when he became Secretary General of NATO in 2003.[2][3]


Early life[edit]

Bot was born in Batavia, Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia). The son of Theo Bot who served as Minister of Education, Culture and Science and Minister for Development Cooperation. He studied law at Leiden University in Leiden where he earned Ph.D. and L.L.M., attended the Hague Academy of International Law, and Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States receiving a second L.L.M. from the latter.


He served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 2002, including postings at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Community from 1964 to 1970, the Netherlands embassy in Buenos Aires to 1973, and at the embassy in former East-Berlin in the DDR. In the period 1976-1982 he worked in the Netherlands for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, after which he was Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Brussels.

From 1986-1989, Bot was Ambassador of the Netherlands to Turkey. He served as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague until 1992, when he was appointed as Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the European Union in Brussels. He held that post for an unusually long period of 10 years.

On 3 December 2003, Bot succeeded current NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the second Balkenende cabinet. Bot is a member of the Christen Democratisch Appèl (CDA) party. He was succeeded as foreign minister by Maxime Verhagen in the fourth Balkenende cabinet. Currently, Bot is a partner of the Praaning Meines Consultancy Group and holds various public posts including President of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy[4] and Chairman of the Board of the Clingendael Institute in The Hague.

In 2007, Ben Bot was quoted as stating that Muslims lack a tolerance "gene". In an interview with the Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense: "We always have been a tolerant country, and we still are. You have to look at the facts: 10 percent of our population comes from Muslim countries. They have gone on to become Dutch citizens, but they have different "genes" from ours. They are less tolerant". The Dutch foreign ministry later stressed he was misinterpreted, and that he was only referring to the intolerance of the small minority of extremists within the Muslim community in the Netherlands.

Bot was interviewed by the NRC Handelsblad newspaper in December 2007, where he reiterated his 2005 position that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and that he had to "redress" his comment in 2005 after heavy pressure from prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. In response, Balkenende said that he would have asked Bot to step down if he did not revise his position at the time.



  1. ^ (Dutch) Bernard Bot, Meines & Partners, May 20, 2012
  2. ^ (Dutch) Bot vervangt De Hoop Scheffer begin december, De Volkskrant, September 30, 2003
  3. ^ (Dutch) Ben Bot (65) nieuwe minister op BZ, Trouw, September 30, 2003
  4. ^, Profile Ben Bot
  5. ^ (Dutch) Voormalig minister Bernard Bot onderscheiden met de Orde van Verdienste van de Republiek Polen, Meines & Partners, June 29, 2012

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Maxime Verhagen
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Hans van den Broek
Chairman of the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Jos van Kemenade
Chairman of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy
Succeeded by