Marga Klompé

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Marga Klompé in 1956

Margaretha Albertina Maria (Marga) Klompé (born in Arnhem, 16 August 1912 – died in The Hague, 28 October 1986) was a Dutch politician and member of the Catholic Party called KVP.

She entered the House of Representatives in 1948, and in 1956, she became the first female secretary of the Netherlands. Marga Klompé was responsible for Social Affairs from 1956 to 1963, and again from 1966 until 1971. She is mainly remembered for passing a Social Security Bill in 1963, a key reform at the time.


Marga Klompé (Arnhem, August 16, 1912 — The Hague, October 28, 1986) was a Dutch politician and member of the Catholic Party called KVP.

Margaretha Albertina Maria (Marga) Klompé was born on August 16, 1912, in Arnhem into a catholic family of five children. Her father was the Dutch J. P. M. Klompé, who owned a stationery shop and her mother was the German-born A. M. J. A. Verdang.

Marga attended the University of Utrecht where she studied Chemistry from 1929 till 1937. During these years, and as a result of her studies, Marga started to question several aspects of religion and in particular the institute itself. Following this crisis, Marga’s commitment to religion was reinforced which she combined with an open mind.

Marga obtained a PhD in Mathematics and Physics (1941) and went on to teach Chemistry and Physics in the Mater Dei High School for girls between 1932 and 1949 in Nijmegen

In 1942, Marga also started to study Medicine at the University of Utrecht, but when the Second World War broke out the University was closed. During the war years, Marga was active in the Dutch underground resistance as a messenger.

After the war, Marga started to focus on politics, which was rather unusual for a woman at the time. In 1948, she entered the House of Representatives and by 1956 she became the first female secretary of the Netherlands focusing on Social Affairs. Her main contribution was the passing of the Social Security Bill in 1963, which replaced the previous Poverty Bill.

Marga was also a member of several national and international associations, such as the Council of Europe and the Joint Task Force for European Cooperation in Development.

In addition, Marga was involved in the Catholic community. She was a member of the national council for the Bishops’ Conference, President of the Papal Commission ‘Justitia et Pax’, and also founded the union of Roman Catholic female graduates.

Furthermore, Marga supported the underprivileged in society. Therefore, her critics called her “Our Lady of Perpetual Succour”.

Marga died in The Hague on 28 October 1986.

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This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Dutch Wikipedia.