Gerrit Hendrik Kersten

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Gerrit Hendrik Kersten
Party leaderReformed Political Party
In office
April 1918 – 14 September 1945
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Pieter Zandt
Party ChairReformed Political Party
In office
April 1918 – 1945
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Pieter Zandt
Parliamentary leaderReformed Political Party
In office
25 July 1922 – 14 September 1945
Preceded by none
Succeeded by Pieter Zandt
Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
In office
25 July 1922 – 14 September 1945
Personal details
Born (1882-08-06)6 August 1882
Deventer, Netherlands
Died 6 September 1948(1948-09-06) (aged 66)
Waarde, Netherlands
Political party Reformed Political Party (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij – SGP)
Spouse(s) Catharina Adriana Wisse
Children 6 sons, 4 daughters
Residence Yerseke, Rotterdam
Occupation Politician, Christian minister, journalist, educator
Religion Netherlands Reformed Congregations

Gerrit Hendrik Kersten (6 August 1882, Deventer – 6 September 1948, Waarde) was a Dutch Christian minister and politician. In 1907, Kersten founded the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. Eleven years later, in 1918, he had established the Reformed Political Party. He was the party's first member of the House of Representatives, being elected in 1922. He would remain in parliament until 1945.

On the evening of 10 November 1925, Kersten, staunchly opposed to Roman Catholicism, proposed an amendment to the 1926 budget for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Kersten's proposal came down to ending financial support for a Dutch office at the Holy See. The amendment was adopted the next day, with support from government party Christian Historical Union.

This led to the resignation of four Catholic government ministers and the fall of the first government of Hendrik Colijn. The fall of the cabinet became known as the Night of Kersten.

Kersten was a staunch critic of the policies of Colijn. The speaker of the Dutch parliament had parts of Kersten's contributions to debates edited in the Proceedings no less than thirteen times between 1922 and 1940.

During the Second World War, Kersten denounced resistance against the Nazis, claiming they were sent by God as punishment for desecration of the Sunday. He also refused to sign a 1941 protest of the convent of Dutch churches against the persecution of Jews during the war. Kersten aided the Dutch underground which shipped Jews from Rotterdam to safe houses in southern Holland, but was still considered a collaborator after the war. After the end of the war, a government committee barred him from Parliament. He focussed on writing theological works. Kersten died three years later, in 1948.

References[edit]

  • Kersten (biography), Parlement .