Agnes van Ardenne

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Agnes van Ardenne
Agnes van Ardenne 2006 (1).jpg
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
Minister of Development Cooperation
In office
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Eveline Herfkens
Succeeded by Bert Koenders
Personal details
Born (1950-01-21) 21 January 1950 (age 67)
Maasland, Netherlands
Political party Christian Democratic Appeal

Anna Maria Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven (born 21 January 1950 in Maasland) is a former Dutch politician and diplomat.


Before taking office as minister, van Ardenne was the deputy chairwoman of the Netherlands-based Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID) and Secretary General of the UNICEF National Committee of the Netherlands.[citation needed]

As member of the House of Representatives between 1994 and 2002, van Ardenne was a member of the parliament's delegations to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).[citation needed]

Between 2002 and 2007, van Ardenne served as Minister for Development Cooperation in the cabinet of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. In this capacity, she was also an ex-officio Alternate Governor of both the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank (AfDB). When the Netherlands held the presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2004, she chaired the meetings of the EU Development Ministers.[citation needed]

During her time in office, van Ardenne focused on fragile states and countries in conflict, including Sudan.[1] She chose to concentrate Dutch bilateral development cooperation on Africa (at least 50% of the bilateral budget).[2] In 2006, she ordered a suspension of nearly $150 million in aid to the government of President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya because of concerns over corruption.[3]

Van Ardenne was one of the first foreign dignitaries to visit Pakistan after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, to witness the emergency aid operation still being conducted at full capacity.[4]

In 2006, van Ardenne increased the Netherlands’ support to post-primary and higher education to 110 million euros per year from the earlier level of 60 million euros, and increased its contribution to the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI) to 150 million euros in 2006 and subsequent years.[5]

Also in 2006, van Ardenne significantly increased the Dutch contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, pledging nearly € 100 million over four years for global vaccination and programmes to strengthen health systems.[6] In what was the single largest earmarked donation UNICEF had received in its then 60-year history, van Ardenne later pledged $201 million over four years to expand the agency's ongoing efforts to ensure that children in conflict, natural disasters and emerging from crisis can go to school.[7]

After leaving office, van Ardenne worked as her country’s Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome from 2007 until 2011. She was succeeded by Gerda Verburg.[citation needed]

Between 2011 and 2014, van Ardenne served as chairwoman of the Dutch Product Board for Horticulture. Since 2017, she has been chairwoman of the Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture.[citation needed]

Other activities[edit]

Political positions[edit]

On 30 March 2012, van Ardenne and several other prominent CDA members, including former Prime Ministers Ruud Lubbers and Piet de Jong, signed a petition of disapproval on the proposed cuts to the budget of international development by the first cabinet of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.[10][11][12][13]


  1. ^ Gabi Spitz, Roeland Muskens and Edith van Ewijk (March 4, 2013), The Dutch and development cooperation: Ahead of the crowd or trailing behind? Nationale Commissie voor Internationale Samenwerking en Duurzame Ontwikkeling (NCDO).
  2. ^ IOB – Good things come to those who make them happen – Return on aid for Dutch exports released in 2014.
  3. ^ Dutch halt Kenya aid over graft BBC News, 29 April 2006.
  4. ^ Agnes van Ardenne to visit Pakistan earthquake zone ReliefWeb, 8 December 2005.
  5. ^ Boost for the Education For All Fast Track Initiative United Nations Girls' Education Initiative, press release of 18 September 2006.
  6. ^ The Netherlands renews and increases its commitment to the GAVI Alliance Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, press release of 31 October 2006.
  7. ^ Netherlands gives UNICEF largest single donation ever UNICEF, press release of 22 December 2006.
  8. ^ New chair of the Board of Governors: Ms Agnes van Ardenne African Studies Centre (ASC) at Leiden University, press release of March 1, 2013.
  9. ^ Dutch government names members of Council for the Environment and Infrastructure Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (RLI), press release of 18 July 2012.
  10. ^ (in English) Former CDA ministers warn coalition not to cut aid budget,, 30 March 2012
  11. ^ (in Dutch) Waarschuwing oud-CDA-ministers,, 30 March 2012
  12. ^ (in Dutch) De Jong dreigt CDA te verlaten, NOS, 30 March 2012
  13. ^ (in Dutch) Piet de Jong dreigt CDA te verlaten,, 31 March 2012


Political offices
Preceded by
Eveline Herfkens
Minister for Development Cooperation
Succeeded by
Bert Koenders