Gijs van Aardenne

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Gijs van Aardenne

Gijsbert (“Gijs”) Michiel Vredenrijk van Aardenne (18 March 1930, in Rotterdam – 10 August 1995, in Dordrecht) was a Dutch politician.

Van Aardenne was the son of a surgeon and studied mathematics and physics at Leiden University. After his studies he was employed at a steel factory in Dordrecht, becoming its general manager from 1967 to 1971.

He joined the Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (VVD) in 1964 and was a Member of Parliament between 1971 and 1977, and again in 1981. He became minister of economic affairs in the first van Agt cabinet (1977–81). Nuclear energy and problems in the shipbuilding industry were prominent issues during these years. He took the same post as well as vice-premier in the first Lubbers cabinet (1982–1986).

He got into political trouble for downplaying the financial struggles of the Rijn Schelde Verolme shipyard, which would collapse in 1983 in spite of many years of large financial support from the government. For this reason he was omitted from the 1986 Lubbers cabinet.

Van Aardenne remained politically active, amongst others acting in the formation of the first Kok cabinet in 1994 and rejecting the post of minister of finances in that. By then he had been diagnosed with ALS, which bound him to a wheel chair and of which he died in 1995.

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