Hans Wiegel

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Hans Wiegel
VVD-fractievoorzitter Hans Wiegel kijkt over zijn bril, op zijn plaats in de Tweede Kamer, bij het begin van de algemene - SFA001021704.jpg
Member of the Senate of the Netherlands
In office
13 June 1995 – 1 April 2000
Queen's Commissioner of Friesland
In office
16 June 1982 – 1 February 1994
Monarch Beatrix
Preceded by Hedzer Rijpstra
Succeeded by Loek Hermans
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
In office
7 July 1971 – 20 April 1982
Preceded by Molly Geertsema
Succeeded by Ed Nijpels
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
19 December 1977 – 11 September 1981
Prime Minister Dries van Agt
Preceded by Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Succeeded by Joop den Uyl
Jan Terlouw
Minister of the Interior of the Netherlands
In office
19 December 1977 – 11 September 1981
Prime Minister Dries van Agt
Preceded by Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Succeeded by Ed van Thijn
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
In office
27 May 1981 – 20 April 1982
Preceded by Koos Rietkerk
Succeeded by Ed Nijpels
In office
20 July 1971 – 19 December 1977
Preceded by Molly Geertsema
Succeeded by Koos Rietkerk
Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
In office
25 August 1981 – 1 May 1982
In office
18 April 1967 – 19 December 1977
Personal details
Born Hans Wiegel
(1941-07-16) 16 July 1941 (age 73)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (since 1963)
Spouse(s) Pien Frederiks
(m. 1973-1980; her death)
Marianne Frederiks
(m. 1982-2005; her death)
Domestic partner Madelon Spoor
(2006-2010)
Children Erik (born 1975)
Marieke (born 1977)
Residence Oudega, Netherlands
Alma mater University of Amsterdam (Bachelor of Arts)
Occupation Politician
Corporate director
Columnist
Political pundit
Religion Non-religious (Agnosticism)[1]
Nickname(s) The Oracle of Leeuwarden
The Great Icemaster

Hans Wiegel (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈhɑns ˈʋiɣəl]; born 16 July 1941) is a retired Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). He became a Member of the House of Representatives on 18 April 1967. When the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Molly Geertsema became Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Biesheuvel I, Wiegel was chosen to succeed him in both positions, he became youngest Party Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy ever at the age of twenty-nine on 7 July 1971 and became the Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives on 20 July 1971. For the Dutch general election of 1972 Wiegel was the lijsttrekker (top candidate) and won six seats in the House of Representatives. Wiegel served as opposition leader against then Prime Minister Joop den Uyl and his cabinet. After the Dutch general election of 1977 Wiegel for a second time as lijsttrekker won again six seats and after a long formation period resulted in a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) which formed the Cabinet Van Agt I. Wiegel became Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of the Interior serving from 19 December 1977, until 11 September 1981.

For the Dutch general election of 1981 Wiegel again as lijsttrekker lost two seats and he again returned to the House of Representatives and as the Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives serving 27 May 1981, until 20 April 1982 when Wiegel wanted to leave national politics to become the Queen's Commissioner of Friesland, Wiegel was succeeded as Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives and Party Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy by his chosen successor Ed Nijpels.

Wiegel served as Queen's Commissioner of Friesland from 16 June 1982 until 1 February 1994, for almost twelve years. After the Dutch Senate election of 1995, Wiegel became a Member of the Senate, serving from 13 June 1995, until 1 April 2000. In 1999 Wiegel caused a short cabinet crisis by voting against the constitutional revision that would make national referendums possible. This crisis is called the Night of Wiegel.

Wiegel retired from active politics at the age of fifty-eight but continued to occupy numerous seats on supervisory boards in the business and industry world, including the Netherlands Healthcare insurance board, Staatsbosbeheer, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, Achmea and VNO-NCW. In recent years Wiegel has obtained by some as the status of a statesman and continues to comment on political affairs.[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Hans Wiegel was born in Amsterdam on 16 July 1941, After completing gymnasium in Hilversum in 1959, Wiegel started studying law at the University of Amsterdam. After a couple of months he switched his major to political science and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1965. He decided not to pursue a master's degree. Instead, he became involved in politics. Wiegel has been active within the youth wing of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, the Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy, of which he had been a member since 1961. In 1963 he was appointed to its national board and in 1965-1966 he was chairman.

Politics[edit]

Hans Wiegel as a Member of the House of Representatives in 1968.
Hans Wiegel as Minister of the Interior in 1978.
Hans Wiegel in 2005.

In 1967 Wiegel was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives. In 1972, when he was only thirty years old, he became the Leader of his party. During the period of the Cabinet Den Uyl Wiegel acted as the main Leader of the Opposition against the Cabinet and Prime Minister Joop den Uyl. In 1977 he negotiated the formation of the Cabinet van Agt I, in this cabinet he became Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, Wiegel prepared the constitutional revision of 1983.

Wiegel led the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in Dutch General Election of 1972, Dutch General Election of 1977, and Dutch General Election of 1981. During his leadership the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy orientation shifted away from the upper class and towards the middle class and educated workers; this led to electoral success.

In 1982 Wiegel left national politics. He was awarded honorary membership of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and became Queen's Commissioner of Friesland from June 16, 1982 until February 1, 1994. During his period as Queen's Commissioner Wiegel became known as the "Oracle of Diever", because he played an important role advising the VVD and commenting on events in national politics. In 1986 Wiegel was asked to return to the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; he refused, however.

In 1995 he was elected as a Member of the Senate. In 1999 Wiegel caused a short cabinet crisis by voting against the constitutional revision that would make national referendums possible. This crisis is called the Night of Wiegel. Wiegel left the Senate in 2000, soon after the Night of Wiegel.

Comeback (or not)[edit]

On the evening of May 6, 2002 in Leeuwarden, he would be meeting with Pim Fortuyn, who saw in Wiegel a suitable Prime Minister. Earlier that day, however was Fortuyn assassinated in Hilversum.[3][4]

In October 2005 the local branch of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in Alphen aan den Rijn called all other local branches to sign a petition to get Wiegel back in active politics. More than 90% of the branches supported this petition. Wiegel wanted to announce whether he is making a comeback or not in March/April 2006. However then leader Jozias van Aartsen stated in January 2006 that Wiegel most likely will be the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2007 elections. In the last years the Dutch press has speculated - he rarely responds to rumors - whether Wiegel will make a comeback.

On March 8, 2006, the day after a poor showing of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the Dutch municipal elections of 2006, Wiegel issued a press statement to the effect that he will not return to Dutch politics again.[5]

On November 22, 2007 Wiegel was announced that he should go to the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in a broad liberal movement together with the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, Rita Verdonk's Proud of the Netherlands and the Democrats 66. Besides Rita Verdonk none of these parties favor of this plan. On September 15, 2009 he repeated these words in the morning bulletin Goodmorning Netherlands Wiegel then called his party should seek cooperation with the Party for Freedom.[6]

Thirty years years after leaving national politics, Wiegel is still mentioned often as a potential Prime Minister. He still is very popular among People's Party for Freedom and Democracy party members in the Netherlands. He has 'threatened' to return to national politics a number of times, usually resulting in the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy going up in the polls. His opponents admonish this behaviour, implying that he is just trying to keep himself from being forgotten.[7][8]

On April 12, 2010 during a broadcast of the Dutch TV program De Wereld Draait Door Wiegel humoristic joked to be the best Prime Minister the Netherlands never had. That view was shared by politician Joost Eerdmans on Wiegel's seventieth birthday.[9] On May 29, 2012 in an interview with the Algemeen Dagblad he expressed criticism on the agreement the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Christian Democratic Appeal made with the Democrats 66, GreenLeft and ChristianUnion on the budgetary crisis and called it "a serious strategic error".[10][11]

Personal[edit]

Wiegel married his first wife Jacqueline Francina "Pien" Frederiks (born September 9, 1954) on June 1, 1973. He had two children with her, Erik (born 1975) and Marieke (born 1977). On November 6, 1980 tragedy struck when Pien Frederiks died after suffering a car crash a few hours before, she was twenty-six years old. She left her two young children behind Erik (5) and Marieke (3). On April 7, 1982 Wiegel was quietly married to his late wife's older sister Marianne Frederiks (born September 21, 1951). On January 6, 2005 tragedy struck again for the now sixty-three-year-old Wiegel when, in an ironic twist of fate, Marianne Frederiks died in a car crash at the age of fifty-three. From 2006 until 2010 Wiegel had a relation with Madelon Spoor.

Decorations[edit]

National honours[edit]

Ribbon bar Honour Date & Comment
NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Knight BAR.png Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion October 26, 1981
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Grand Officer BAR.png Grand Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau January 20, 1994 - Elevated from Commander (April 28, 1989)

Foreign honours[edit]

Ribbon bar Country Honour Date
BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg Belgium Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown
Order of Civil Merit (Spain) GC.svg Spain Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel: geen recht op beledigen, Trouw, February 28, 2006
  2. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel houdt belofte van terugkeer levend, Trouw, February 24, 2005
  3. ^ (Dutch) HET KABINET-WIEGEL/FORTUYN, Volkskrant, January 19, 2002
  4. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel en Fortuyn hadden het kabinet al uitgetekend; en andere markante herinneringen aan Pim, Volkskrant, April 17, 2012
  5. ^ (Dutch) Hans Wiegel keert niet terug in de politiek, Nova, March 8, 2006
  6. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel pleit voor samenwerking VVD en PVV, NU.nl, September 15, 2009
  7. ^ (Dutch) VVD-coryfee Hans Wiegel is terug., NU.nl, October 20, 2006
  8. ^ (Dutch) Johan Fretz: 'Diep van binnen hoopt Hans Wiegel dat zijn kameraden hem bellen', NU.nl, May 30, 2012
  9. ^ (Dutch) Hans Wiegel 70 jaar: de beste premier die Nederland nooit had, WNL, July 20, 2011
  10. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel Kunduz-akkoord 'strategische fout' van VVD, Algemeen Dagblad, May 29, 2012
  11. ^ (Dutch) Hans Wiegel: Mark Rutte heeft een grote blunder gemaakt, Welingelichte Kringen, May 29, 2012

External links[edit]

Official
Party political offices
Preceded by
Molly Geertsema
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
1971-1982
Succeeded by
Ed Nijpels
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands

1971-1977
Succeeded by
Koos Rietkerk
Preceded by
Koos Rietkerk
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands

1981-1982
Succeeded by
Ed Nijpels
Government offices
Preceded by
Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Minister of the Interior of the Netherlands
1977-1981
Succeeded by
Ed van Thijn
Political offices
Preceded by
Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1977-1981
Succeeded by
Joop den Uyl
Jan Terlouw
Preceded by
Hedzer Rijpstra
Queen's Commissioner of Friesland
1982-1994
Succeeded by
Loek Hermans
Business positions
Preceded by
Position created
Chairman of the Netherlands Healthcare insurance board
1995-2012
Succeeded by
André Rouvoet
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Unknown
Chairman of Staatsbosbeheer
2002-2008
Succeeded by
Inge Brakman
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Position created
Honorary Chairman of the Youth
Organisation Freedom and Democracy

1999-
Succeeded by
Incumbent