Piet Hein Donner

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This article is about the Dutch politician Piet Hein Donner. For the Danish poet and mathematician, see Piet Hein (Denmark). For other uses, see Piet Hein (disambiguation).
Piet Hein Donner
Vice President of the Council of State
Assumed office
February 1, 2012
Monarch Beatrix (2012–2013)
Willem-Alexander (since 2013)
Preceded by Herman Tjeenk Willink
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
In office
October 14, 2010 – December 16, 2011
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Succeeded by Liesbeth Spies
Minister of Social Affairs and Employment
In office
February 22, 2007 – October 14, 2010
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Aart Jan de Geus
Succeeded by Henk Kamp
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
November 30, 2006 – February 22, 2007
Minister of Justice
In office
July 22, 2002 – September 21, 2006
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Benk Korthals
Succeeded by Rita Verdonk
Member of the Council of State
In office
December 22, 1997 – July 22, 2002
Director of the Scientific Council for Government Policy
In office
January 1, 1993 – December 22, 1997
Preceded by Frans Rutten
Succeeded by Michiel Scheltema
Personal details
Born Jan Pieter Hendrik Donner
(1948-10-20) October 20, 1948 (age 66)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Christian Democratic Appeal
Spouse(s) Liesbeth Maria Quanjer
(since 1973)
Children 3 sons
Residence The Hague, Netherlands
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit (Master of Laws)
University of Michigan (Juris Doctor)
Occupation Politician
Civil servant
Religion Protestant Church in the Netherlands
Website Council of State

Jan Pieter Hendrik "Piet Hein" Donner (born October 20, 1948) is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He is the Vice President of the Council of State since February 1, 2012. He previously served as a Member of the Council of State from December 22, 1997 until July 22, 2002. He became Minister of Justice serving from July 22, 2002 until September 21, 2006 in the Cabinets Balkenende I, II and III. He and Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment Sybilla Dekker resigned in the wake of a Dutch Safety Board enquiry into a fire at a cell block near Schiphol Airport. He then became a Member of the House of Representatives, serving from November 30, 2006 until February 22, 2007 when he became Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the Cabinet Balkenende IV, serving until October 14, 2010 when he became Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Cabinet Rutte I. He resigned on December 16, 2011 after he was elected the new Vice President of the Council of State succeeding Herman Tjeenk Willink, he was replaced as Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations by fellow Christian Democratic Appeal party member Liesbeth Spies.[1][2][3][4]


Early life[edit]

The Donner family has produced a number of Calvinist judges. Piet Hein Donner's father, André Donner, was a judge at the European Court of Justice in 1958-1979 and was part of the government commission that looked into Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands's dealing with the Lockheed Corporation. His grandfather was Jan Donner, who served as Minister of Justice for the Anti Revolutionary Party in the first cabinet of Dirk Jan de Geer and was later president of the Dutch Supreme Court. His uncle Jan Hein Donner, however, was a chess grandmaster and author. Piet Hein Donner studied Law at the Free University of Amsterdam, obtaining a degree in 1974. During his study, he joined the student society L.A.N.X. in 1968.


In 2006, Piet Hein Donner recorded a rap song together with Meester G to explain his point of view on the Dutch soft-drug policy. It was a reply to a song by Gerd Leers, Mayor of Maastricht, (with punk band Heideroosjes), which called for a more progressive policy which would not only regulate the selling of soft drugs, but also legalise their production.[5]

On 13 September 2006, Donner was the subject of controversy when he suggested Islamic law could be established in the Netherlands by democratic means. He responded by a clarification that he was not advocating such a scenario but warning against it.[6] That same month, a report of the investigative commission into a fire at Schiphol Airport jail was released, condemning Dutch government officials.[7] Donner, as responsible justice minister, resigned in aftermath of the report's conclusions. His successor was Ernst Hirsch Ballin, who had been justice minister in the third Lubbers cabinet.[8] Four months later, Donner was appointed Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the new Cabinet, Balkenende IV.


  1. ^ (English) Piet Hein Donner tipped for Council of State job, DutchNews, July 6, 2011
  2. ^ (Dutch) 'Spies volgt Donner op in kabinet', NU.nl, December 16, 2011
  3. ^ (Dutch) Benoeming Spies tot minister vrijdag verwacht, NOS, December 16, 2011
  4. ^ (Dutch) Donner naar Raad van State, NOS, December 16, 2011
  5. ^ (Dutch) 'Don' Donner rapt de dope van straat, NU.nl, February 25, 2006
  6. ^ (English) Netherlands: Minister Warns Islamic Law Could Happen Via Democracy, Western Resistance, September 13, 2006
  7. ^ (English) Dutch ministers quit over blaze, BBC News, September 21, 2006
  8. ^ (Dutch) Oudgedienden op Justitie en VROM, NOS, September 22, 2006

External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Frans Rutten
Director of the Scientific Council for Government Policy
Succeeded by
Michiel Scheltema
Government offices
Preceded by
Benk Korthals
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Rita Verdonk
Preceded by
Aart Jan de Geus
Minister of Social Affairs and Employment
Succeeded by
Henk Kamp
Preceded by
Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
Succeeded by
Liesbeth Spies
Political offices
Preceded by
Herman Tjeenk Willink
Vice President of the Council of State
Succeeded by