Ben Bot

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Ben Bot
Bot in 2007
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
3 December 2003 – 22 February 2007
Prime MinisterJan Peter Balkenende
Preceded byJaap de Hoop Scheffer
Succeeded byMaxime Verhagen
Permanent Representative of the
Netherlands to the European Union
In office
1 October 1992 – 1 January 2003
Preceded byUnknown
Succeeded byTom de Bruijn
Ambassador of the Netherlands
to Turkey
In office
1 January 1986 – 1 January 1989
Preceded byUnknown
Succeeded byUnknown
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Netherlands to NATO
In office
1 January 1982 – 1 January 1986
Preceded byUnknown
Succeeded byUnknown
Ambassador of the Netherlands
to East Germany
In office
30 January 1973 – 15 December 1976
Preceded byNew title
Succeeded byUnknown
Personal details
Bernard Rudolf Bot

(1937-11-21) 21 November 1937 (age 86)
Batavia, Dutch East Indies
Political partyChristian Democratic Appeal
(from 1980)
Other political
Catholic People's Party
(until 1980)
Domestic partner(s)Sybilla Dekker
(since 2008)
Children3 children
Residence(s)The Hague, Netherlands
Alma materLeiden University
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws, Doctor of Philosophy)
Harvard University
(Juris Doctor, Master of Laws)
OccupationPolitician · Diplomat · Civil servant · Nonprofit director · Lobbyist[1]

Bernard Rudolf "Ben" Bot (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbɛrnɑrt ˈrydɔl(ə)v bɛn ˈbɔt]; born 21 November 1937) is a retired Dutch politician and diplomat. A member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007 in the second and third cabinet of Jan Peter Balkenende. A career ambassador, he succeeded then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who resigned to become Secretary General of NATO.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Bot was born in Batavia, Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia). The son of Theo Bot who served as Minister of Education, Culture and Science and Minister for Development Cooperation. He studied at the Leiden University where he earned an L.L.M. and a Ph.D. degree in law, and attended subsequently The Hague Academy of International Law and Harvard Law School (Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States) where he received a second L.L.M. degree from the latter.


Ben Bot with then United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2006.
Ben Bot with then French Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy in 2006.

He served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 2002, including postings at the Permanent Representation of the Netherlands to the European Community from 1964 to 1970, the Netherlands embassy in Buenos Aires to 1973, and at the embassy in former East-Berlin in the DDR. In the period 1976-1982 he worked in the Netherlands for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague, after which he was Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels.

From 1986 to 1989, Bot was Ambassador of the Netherlands to Turkey.[4] He served as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague until 1992, when he was appointed as Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the European Union in Brussels. He held that post for an unusually long period of 10 years.

On 3 December 2003, Bot succeeded former NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the second Balkenende cabinet. Bot is a member of the Christen Democratisch Appèl (CDA) party. In February 2007 he was succeeded as foreign minister by Maxime Verhagen in the fourth Balkenende cabinet. Currently, Bot is a partner of the Praaning Meines Consultancy Group and holds various public posts including President of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy[4] and Chairman of the Board of the Clingendael Institute in The Hague.

Political positions[edit]

Bot voiced concern over the 2006 Lebanon War. Bot has expressed "understanding for Israel's reaction" but said "it would be hard to support Israel in case there will be many civilian casualties".[5]

Bot was interviewed by the NRC Handelsblad newspaper in December 2007, where he reiterated his 2005 position that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and that he had to "redress" his comment in 2005 after heavy pressure from prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. In response, Balkenende said that he would have asked Bot to step down if he did not revise his position at the time.

Other activities[edit]


Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 10 December 1985 [4]
Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 30 April 1993 [4]
Silver Medal of Honor of the Order of the Three Stars Latvia 2008
Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit Poland 29 June 2012 [7]


  1. ^ (in Dutch) Bernard Bot Archived August 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Meines & Partners, 20 May 2012
  2. ^ (in Dutch) Bot vervangt De Hoop Scheffer begin december Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, De Volkskrant, 30 September 2003
  3. ^ (in Dutch) Ben Bot (65) nieuwe minister op BZ Archived December 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Trouw, 30 September 2003
  4. ^ a b c d, Profile Ben Bot
  5. ^ "Bot: Israël moet burgers ontzien". 16 July 2006. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  6. ^ 2005 Annual Report[permanent dead link] European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  7. ^ (in Dutch) Voormalig minister Bernard Bot onderscheiden met de Orde van Verdienste van de Republiek Polen, Meines & Partners, 29 June 2012

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Civic offices
Preceded by
Eduard Jacobs
Secretary-General of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Succeeded by
Dirk van den Berg
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by Chairman of the
Institute for Multiparty Democracy

Succeeded by
Preceded by Chairman of the
Netherlands Institute of International
Relations Clingendael

Succeeded by
Paul van der Heijden
Chairman of the
Netherlands Carnegie Foundation

Chairman of
Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Succeeded by
Theo Huibers