Piet de Jong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
His Excellency
Piet de Jong
Piet de Jong 1970.jpg
Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party in the Senate
In office
May 11, 1971 – September 17, 1974
Preceded by Jan Niers
Succeeded by Jan Teijssen
Member of the Senate
In office
May 11, 1971 – September 17, 1974
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
April 5, 1967 – July 6, 1971
Monarch Juliana
Deputy Johan Witteveen
Joop Bakker
Preceded by Jelle Zijlstra
Succeeded by Barend Biesheuvel
Minister of Economic Affairs
In office
January 7, 1970 – January 14, 1970
Prime Minister Piet de Jong
Preceded by Leo de Block
Succeeded by Roelof Nelissen
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
February 23, 1967 – April 5, 1967
Minister of Defence
In office
July 24, 1963 – April 5, 1967
Prime Minister Victor Marijnen (1963–1965)
Jo Cals (1965–1966)
Jelle Zijlstra (1966–1967)
Preceded by Sim Visser
Succeeded by Willem den Toom
State Secretary for Defence
In office
June 25, 1959 – July 24, 1963
Serving with Michael Calmeyer
Prime Minister Jan de Quay
Preceded by Harry Moorman
Succeeded by Adri van Es
Personal details
Born Petrus Jozef Sietze de Jong
(1915-04-03) April 3, 1915 (age 99)
Apeldoorn, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Christian Democratic Appeal
(from 1980)
Other political
Catholic People's Party
Spouse(s) Anneke Bartels
(m. 1947–2010; her death)
Children Maria (born 1948)
Jos (born 1949)
Gijs (born 1952)[1]
Residence The Hague, Netherlands[2]
Alma mater Royal Netherlands Naval College
Occupation Politician
Naval officer
Religion Roman Catholicism
Military service
Nickname(s) Little Piet
Her Majesty's own garden gnome
Allegiance The Netherlands
Service/branch Royal Netherlands Navy
(Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Service)
Years of service 1934–1959
(Reserve from 1959–1963)
Rank Captain Captain
Commands HNLMS O 24
HNLMS De Zeeuw
HNLMS Gelderland
Battles/wars World War II

Cold War

Awards Order of Orange-Nassau
(Knight Grand Cross)
Bronze Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Cross
Medal for Order and Peace
War Memorial Cross
Aide-de-camp Queen Juliana
Chief of staff Inspector General of the Navy Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld (1955–1958)

Petrus Jozef Sietse "Piet" de Jong (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpid də ˈjɔŋ]; born April 3, 1915) is a retired Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from April 5, 1967 until July 6, 1971.[3][4]

A veteran naval officer of World War II, De Jong graduated from the Royal Netherlands Naval College in 1934 and joined the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Service and served on HNLMS O 24 during World War II, he ended the war as the commanding officer of that vessel, the HNLMS O 24 was one of the few Dutch submarines that survived World War II. During his service in World War II he was awarded the Bronze Cross twice, the first time in 1940 and for the second time in 1943, De Jong was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross of the United Kingdom for his services and leadership during World War II.[5]

After World War II De Jong continued to serve in the Royal Netherlands Navy, commanding two frigates and serving as chief of staff to Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld and aide-de-camp to Queen Juliana. De Jong eventually rose to the rank of Captain but retired from active service a year later when he was asked by the Catholic People's Party to serve on their behalf as State Secretary for Defence dealing with matters of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

De Jong served as State Secretary for Defence from June 25, 1959 until July 24, 1963 in the Cabinet De Quay. He later became Minister of Defence serving from July 24, 1963 until April 5, 1967 in the Cabinets Marijnen, Cals and Zijlstra. After the Dutch general election of 1967, De Jong became Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of General Affairs, leading the Cabinet de Jong. He also served as acting Minister of Economic Affairs from January 7, 1970 until January 14, 1970 following the resignation of Leo de Block, he was succeeded by Roelof Nelissen. The resignation of De Block marked the only change in the Council of Ministers during the full term of the cabinet.[6]

Despite his popularity, the Catholic People's Party refused to nominate him as the lijsttrekker (top candidate) for the Dutch general election of 1971 because of his alleged "conservative image" and he was replaced by his Minister of Education and Science Gerard Veringa who had a more "progressive image".[7] After his premiership, De Jong remained in active politics and became the Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party in the Senate and a Member of the Senate serving from May 11, 1971 until September 17, 1974 and finally retiring from active politics at the age of fifty nine. Following the end of his active political career, De Jong occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards in the business and industry world (Royal Dutch Shell, Douwe Egberts, Het Financieele Dagblad, DAF, Koninklijke Hoogovens, SHV Holdings, CSM N.V., Radio Netherlands Worldwide and the Netherlands Red Cross).[8]

De Jong is known for his dry wit and quick remarks. His abilities as a team leader with perspective and pragmatism were greatly admired. The Cabinet De Jong was the first cabinet after World War II that completed a full term without any internal conflicts. As of 2014, he is the oldest and earliest serving former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the oldest living state leader at the age of 99. Over forty years after he left office, De Jong continues to comment on political affairs as an elder statesman.[9]


Early life[edit]

Petrus Josef Sietse de Jong was born on April 3, 1915 in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands Province of Gelderland in a Roman Catholic family, the son of Joännes de Jong a railroad superintendent and Gijsberta Adriana Schouten. After leaving secondary school, he joined the Royal Netherlands Navy as a midshipman in 1931 and subsequently attended the Royal Netherlands Naval College in Den Helder. In 1934 he received his commission as a Luitenant-ter-zee III.

World War II[edit]

Piet de Jong as commanding officer of the HNLMS Gelderland in 1958.
Piet de Jong as Minister of Defence in 1965.
Piet de Jong with his trademark bowler hat in 1966.
Piet de Jong at the inauguration of his cabinet in 1967.
Piet de Jong in 1968.
Piet de Jong in 2011.
Piet de Jong with former Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers, Dries van Agt, his daughter Maria and current Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte in 2013.

After his graduation in 1934 he served a short time in the Dutch East Indies before he entered service in the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Service. On May 13, 1940 De Jong sailed to England on board the Dutch HNLMS O 24 and during World War II he saw action initially as first officer and from mid-1944 onwards as Commanding officer of that vessel. He lived in England during the World War II. In April 1946 he returned on board the HNLMS O 24 to the Netherlands. In 1947 he was attached to the Naval Staff of the Admiralty and in 1948 became adjutant to the Navy Minister.

From 1951 to the end of 1952, De Jong commanded a naval frigate HNLMS De Zeeuw, after which he joined the staff of the Allied Commander-in-Chief Channel in the British naval base at Portsmouth. In 1955 he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Inspector-General of the Royal Netherlands Navy Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld and aide-de-camp to Queen Juliana, after which he returned to sea in 1958 as commander of the submarine chaser HNLMS Gelderland.


State Secretary[edit]

On June 7, 1959 during a NATO naval exercises near Scotland, De Jong received an unexpected telegram with the orders that he was to report the next day to Vice Admiral Leendert Brouwer, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy himself, De Jong was summoned because of his "appointment" as State Secretary in the new Cabinet de Quay. De Jong was airlifted from the HNLMS Gelderland by helicopter and transported to the aircraft carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman. It was the second time that De Jong was asked for a political office, for the Dutch general election of 1956 he was approached by Carl Romme the leader of the Catholic People's Party for a seat in the House of Representatives but De Jong respectfully declined his offer, and stated: "I don't have political ambitions, I want to become an admiral".

During that time the independence of the Royal Netherlands Navy in the Armed forces of the Netherlands was in question, the main focus of the discussion was the new command structure for all the service branches. Both a horizontal-structure and vertical-structure had there proponents and opponents, the Royal Netherlands Navy was historically a proponent of a vertical-structure but the horizontal-structure received increasing support, including from the then Minister of War and the Navy Kees Staf. During the cabinet formation for the Cabinet de Quay the decision was made to go with the horizontal-structure and the first step was made with the combining of the Ministry of War and the Ministry of the Navy. With the combining of the Ministry of War and the Ministry of the Navy a serious efficiency problem in the Ministry of War was discovered, while the Ministry of the Navy was thought to be in an excellent administrative condition.

After his meeting with Admiral Brouwer De Jong reported to the incoming Minister of Defence Sidney J. van den Bergh, who formally asked De Jong to become the new State Secretary for the Royal Netherlands Navy. De Jong was given a few days to think it over and he used that time to speak with Carl Romme. De Jong informed him that he was not a member of the Catholic People's Party but Romme respond by saying: "You are not a member of a different party? No, but you are a Roman Catholic? Then we will we see you as one of us." Romme did advise De Jong to become a member of the Catholic People's Party after six months. On June 11, 1959 De Jong reported back to Van den Bergh and was told about the new horizontal-structure, De Jong who was a proponent of a vertical-structure was left with a few remarks. The next day the meeting was continued in the presence of the incoming Director-General for the Ministry of Defence Duyverman who was going to be responsible for all financial and budgetary affairs for the Ministry of Defence. De Jong objected, he thought he could not be politically responsible as a State Secretary if he wasn't responsible for all financial affairs for his own department, Van den Bergh became irritated with De Jongs position on the matter and the meeting was adjourned for June 16, 1959.[1]


Immediately thereafter De Jong served as Minister of Defence in the successive Cabinets Marijnen, Cals and Zijlstra.

Prime Minister[edit]

From April 5, 1967 to July 6, 1971 he was Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of General Affairs in the Cabinet de Jong. His Cabinet was the first Cabinet of the Netherlands since World War II that served a full four-year term without crises.

His cabinet was confronted with a demand for democratic reforms in the society and it decided to democratise colleges and universities after the famous Maagdenhuisbezetting. Plans were made to modernise politics by establishing an electoral system with districts or a chosen Prime Minister, but these plans were not implemented. Meanwhile, a pay pause due to the decision of employers and employees to raise wages was partly revoked after anti-government demonstrations and strikes. The Minister of Economic Affairs Leo de Block resigned, officially as a protest against the wage rise in the metal industry, but another reason was his slow reaction to the inflation and rising prices after the introduction of Value added tax. More unrest took shape in demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Internationally, relations with Indonesia improved, resulting in a visit by president Suharto which was, however, overshadowed by the occupation of the Indonesian embassy by Moluccans. The Soviet Union invasion in Czechoslovakia was seen as a reason to increase the defence budget. During his term as Prime Minister of the Netherlands De Jong met with numeral state leaders, including then President Richard Nixon, Presidents of France Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou. He was present in the hospital when Prince Claus announced the birth of his son Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange on April 27, 1967.

After serving as Prime Minister of the Netherlands De Jong became a member of the Senate, where he served from 1971 to 1974 and as the Parliamentary leader in the Senate. In 1972 he was passed by the Cabinet Biesheuvel II for the position of Vice President of the Council of State and in 1973 he passed the mayoralty of Eindhoven.

After politics[edit]

Following the end of his active political career, De Jong occupied many posts in industry and seats on numerous supervisory boards. In December 1990 he was selected to lead a diplomatic mission to Iraq to free Dutch hostages, but ultimately the mission was cancelled.

On March 25, 2010 De Jong, still visibly spirituous and active, gave a speech at Nieuwspoort (Newsgate) about the publication of the biography of former Minister of Foreign Affairs and the 5th Secretary General of NATO Joseph Luns.[10] On April 24, 2010 during the annual Christian Democratic Appeal party conference, De Jong spoke about former Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Party party leader Wouter Bos and his actions which led to the fall of the Cabinet Balkenende IV.[11]

After the Dutch general election of 2010 the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) suffered a disappointing election result, and Informateur Ivo Opstelten announced the formation of a new centre-right coalition cabinet composed of the winner of the election, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and De Jong's own Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). But with support of the Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders. De Jong spoke against this support and said that the Party for Freedom (PVV) stand about Freedom of religion was a deal breaker.[12]

On March 30, 2012 De Jong and several other prominent CDA members, including fellow former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, former Ministers of Foreign Affairs Hans van den Broek, Pieter Kooijmans and Ben Bot. Former Ministers for Development Cooperation Piet Bukman and Agnes van Ardenne. And former ministers Wim Deetman and Ernst Hirsch Ballin and former State Secretary Karien van Gennip all signed a petition of disapproval for the proposed cuts for the budget of International development by the Cabinet Rutte. De Jong responded by announcing that he will leave the CDA if the cuts will be implemented.[13][14][15][16] He expressed satisfaction about the fall of the Cabinet Rutte in 2012 calling it a "lame cabinet".

De Jong was present at the ascension of Willem-Alexander to the Dutch throne on April 30, 2013. He was Prime Minister of the Netherlands at the time of the King's birth. At the age of 98 he was the oldest person attending the ceremony.[17]

On December 1, 2013 De Jong and fellow former Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Dries van Agt and Ruud Lubbers were present at the presentation of the book Polarisatie en hoogconjunctuur, a book about Dutch politics in the 1960s. De Jong received the first coppy from incumbent Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Mark Rutte.[18][19]

Reputation and legacy[edit]

During his time as Prime Minister of the Netherlands he was accused of not showing enough strength and too little action when needed during the social revolution of the 1960s by some of the counterculture of that time. He was frequently labelled as old-fashioned, that old-fashioned image was reinforced by his bowler hat, which he wore frequently outside, a custom he picked up during his time living in England. Forty years later however he is considered by many a politician who carefully made well thought-out decisions and when needed showed enough strength with a more progressive ideology then he was credited for at the time.

Politicians from the entire political spectrum have labelled De Jong as one of the better Prime Minister of the Netherlands. In an episode of the Dutch television programme Netwerk aired in 2005, he is even labelled as perhaps the best postwar Prime Minister of the Netherlands. This view has been shared by numerous high-profiled current and former Dutch politicians, including former Prime Minister Dries van Agt[20] and former Deputy Prime Minister Hans Wiegel who praised De Jong as well as perhaps the best Prime Minister of the Netherlands after World War II.[21] Former Member of the Senate and Righteous Among the Nations Johan van Hulst said that of all the Prime Ministers he worked with in twenty-five years, De Jong was the best.[22] On March 23, 2011 the history channel Hollanddoc devoted an episode about his life with the quote "Attention for the least-known prime minister after World War II, but perhaps the most successful: Piet de Jong"[23] In November 2011 the second edition of his in 2001 released biography Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof. P.J.S. de Jong (From offshore to Binnenhof. P.J.S. de Jong) became well received and further enhanced his reputation: "He showed himself a team leader with perspective and humor. The ideal manager in a time of crisis of authority, polarization and social unrest."[24]

De Jong, told Queen Juliana, for who he had served as aide-de-camp, when he was sworn in as State Secretary: 'Majesty, there you see how a person comes down in the world.' (Dutch: 'Majesteit, zo ziet u maar hoe een mens aan lager wal kan raken.') And in a response to a delicate question of a radio reporter, when asked what his thoughts on pornography were, he said: 'As far as I know, pornography is the only working medicine against seasickness.' When later a Belgian minister spoke negative about the libertarian ideas of the Dutch on pornography, he responded: 'well, the Belgians aren't a seafaring people, are they?'[25]


After World War II De Jong married former resistance fighter Anna Geertruida Jacoba Henriëtte "Anneke" Bartels (born January 8, 1915). At the time when they met Bartels was serving in the women's division of the Royal Netherlands Navy. They married on June 26, 1947 and had one daughter and two sons and. Maria (born May 31, 1948) Jos (born August 31, 1949) and Gijs (born October 15, 1952). Anneke Bartels died on January 6, 2010 two days before her ninety-fifth birthday after suffering from heart and lung illnesses since 2000.[1][26]


At the age of 99 years, 97 days De Jong is the oldest living and earliest serving former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the oldest living former Member of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands overall. De Jong is the second oldest Prime Minister of the Netherlands by age after Willem Drees who lived to 101 years, 314 days. De Jong is currently the oldest living former head of state or government. He uses a pacemaker and is reportedly in good health for his age, still giving TV interviews and regularly attending veteran meetings. He still lives on his own in his apartment in The Hague and takes daily walks to the nearby beach.[27]

Military ranks[edit]



  • Brouwer, Jan Willem; van Merriënboer, Johan (2001). Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof: P.J.S. de Jong, een biografie. Netherlands: Sdu Uitgevers. ISBN 9789012087742. 


  1. ^ a b c Brouwer, Jan Willem; van Merriënboer, Johan (2001). Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof: P.J.S. de Jong, een biografie. Sdu Uitgevers. ISBN 9789012087742. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  2. ^ (Dutch) Pietje, Reformed Political Party, October 3, 2010
  3. ^ (Dutch) ‘De oorlog was de oorzaak van geduvel in ’68’, NRC Handelsblad, May 10, 2008
  4. ^ (English) Piet de Jong AKA Petrus Jozef Sietze de Jong, NNDB, May 6, 2006
  5. ^ (Dutch) Ik zag de schepen en wist wat ik wilde worden, Trouw, June 7, 2008
  6. ^ (Dutch) P. J. S. (Piet) de Jong 5 april 1967 – 6 juli 1971, Geschiedenis24, December 9, 2005
  7. ^ (Dutch) Piet de Jong, Katholieknieuwsblad, July 6, 2012
  8. ^ (Dutch) Biography of the Dutch Submarine Commander P.J.S. de Jong, Dutchsubmarines.com, December 24, 2006
  9. ^ (Dutch) De putschisten zijn onder ons, De Groene Amsterdammer, October 28, 2005
  10. ^ (Dutch) Gehele toespraak Piet de Jong over Joseph Luns, NOS, March 25, 2010
  11. ^ (Dutch) Oud-CDA-premier Piet de Jong haalt uit naar Wouter Bos, NOS, April 24, 2010
  12. ^ (Dutch) Kritiek oud-premier De Jong op CDA, NU.nl, Augustus 24, 2010
  13. ^ (English) Former CDA ministers warn coalition not to cut aid budget, Dutchnews.nl, March 30, 2012
  14. ^ (Dutch) Waarschuwing oud-CDA-ministers, Dutchnews.nl, March 30, 2012
  15. ^ (Dutch) De Jong dreigt CDA te verlaten, NOS, March 30, 2012
  16. ^ (Dutch) Piet de Jong dreigt CDA te verlaten, NU.nl, March 31, 2012
  17. ^ (Dutch) Genodigden naar Nieuwe Kerk, NOS, April 30, 2013
  18. ^ (Dutch) Toespraak Rutte bij presentatie boek over kabinet-De Jong, Rijksoverheid, December 2, 2013
  19. ^ (Dutch) Hechte team-De Jong laveerde soepel door de roerige jaren zestig, Parlement & Politiek, December 3, 2013
  20. ^ (Dutch) Dries van Agt over de Palestijnse kwestie- Deel 2- Pauw en Witteman-09 09 2009, Pauw en Witteman, September 9, 2009
  21. ^ (Dutch) Na 30 jaar eindelijk lof voor Piet de Jong, Trouw, November 28, 2001
  22. ^ (Dutch) Het Gesprek – oud-senator Johan van Hulst (100), NCRV, May 23, 2011
  23. ^ (Dutch) Profiel Afl. Piet de Jong, Hollanddoc.nl, March 22, 2011
  24. ^ (Dutch) Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof. P.J.S. de Jong, Uitgeverijboom.nl, November 25, 2011
  25. ^ (Dutch) Na het grote nee en de metamorfose van de VVD lijken de dagen van het kabinet geteld Dat onze premier charisma ontbeert, 'soit', maar hij schiet tekort in de meest alledaagse communicatie, Trouw, June 11, 2005
  26. ^ (Dutch) Huwelijksduur premiers, Allesopeenrij.nl, March 21, 2010
  27. ^ (Dutch) Oud-premier Piet de Jong (97), Katholieke Radio Omroep, April 27, 2012

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jan Niers
Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party
in the Senate

Succeeded by
Jan Teijssen
Government offices
Preceded by
Harry Moorman
State Secretary for Defence
Succeeded by
Adri van Es
Preceded by
Sim Visser
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Willem den Toom
Preceded by
Leo de Block
Minister of Economic Affairs
Succeeded by
Roelof Nelissen
Preceded by
Jelle Zijlstra
Minister of General Affairs
Succeeded by
Barend Biesheuvel
Political offices
Preceded by
Jelle Zijlstra
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Barend Biesheuvel