Dirk Jan de Geer

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Jonkheer
Dirk Jan de Geer
Dirk Jan de Geer.jpg
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
10 August 1939 – 3 September 1940
Monarch Wilhelmina
Preceded by Hendrikus Colijn
Succeeded by Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
In office
8 March 1926 – 10 August 1929
Monarch Wilhelmina
Preceded by Hendrik Colijn
Succeeded by Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck
Personal details
Born (1870-12-14)14 December 1870
Groningen, Netherlands
Died 28 November 1960(1960-11-28) (aged 89)
Soest, Netherlands
Political party Christian Historical
Spouse(s) Maria Voorhoeve (1883-1955)
Children 5

Jhr. Dirk Jan de Geer (14 December 1870 – 28 November 1960) was a Dutch nobleman, lawyer and politician. He was Prime Minister of the Netherlands twice: from 1926 to 1929 and from 1939 to 1940. He was later dishonoured for having advocated a peace treaty between the Kingdom and Nazi Germany in 1940.

Biography[edit]

Born in Groningen, he was a descendant of the De Geer family. After receiving his J.D. in 1895, De Geer worked as a journalist and acted as town councillor of Rotterdam (1901–1907). He served from 1907 as a Christian Historical member of Parliament.

De Geer was a stable and respected politician before World War II. From 1920 to 1921 de Geer served as mayor of Arnhem. Between 1921 and 1923 he served as Minister of Finance. He resigned in 1923 because of his disagreement with the Naval Law of 1924. From 1925 to 1926 he served as minister of the interior and minister of agriculture. He was Prime Minister from 8 March 1926 to 10 August 1929. He also served as Minister of Finances from 1926 to 1933.

After the end of the fifth cabinet of Colijn he was again asked to form a government in August 1939, concurrently holding the office of Minister of Finance and of General Affairs. However, he was not suited for the role of prime minister of a nation at war as he knew himself. When the Germans attacked the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, the situation soon became very serious. Because of this the government decided to flee to London.

When in London, De Geer advocated negotiating a separate peace between the Netherlands and the Third Reich, which damaged the Dutch government and the Dutch morale by openly stating that the war could never be won. He was finally removed from office on the instigation of the iron-willed Queen Wilhelmina, and replaced by Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy.

Later on, he was sent with a diplomatic package to the Dutch East Indies, present day Indonesia. He never arrived there: on a stop-over in Portugal he left, and returned to his family in the Netherlands with the permission of the Germans. This greatly angered Queen Wilhelmina, who called him a traitor and deserter to the Dutch cause. He later wrote a controversial leaflet with "instructions" for the people on how to cooperate with the Germans. Wilhelmina warned him that if he went on to publish this, he would be put on trial after the conclusion of the war.[1]

De Geer went through with the publication; after the war he was duly accused and brought to trial. He was found guilty and stripped of all of his honorary titles. The Appeal Court confirmed the sentence of a year's imprisonment for high treason in time of war, with 3 years' probation, but waived the fine of 20,000 guilders and his deprivation of the title "Minister of State".[2]

He died some 15 years later in Soest, embittered and still believing in his innocence.

His grandson is ex-footballer Boudewijn de Geer, and his great-grandson is current footballer Mike de Geer.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives, Volume IV, (February, 1941) p. 4479
  2. ^ Keesing's Contemporary Archives Volume VI, (November, 1947) p. 8944

External links[edit]

House of Representatives of the Netherlands
Preceded by
Otto van Limburg Stirum
Member for Schiedam
1907–1918
District abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Simon de Vries
Minister of Finance
1921–1923
Succeeded by
Hendrik Colijn
Preceded by
Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck
Minister of the Interior and Agriculture
1925–1926
Succeeded by
Jan Kan
Preceded by
Hendrik Colijn
Minister of Finance
1926–1933
Succeeded by
Pieter Oud
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1926–1929
Succeeded by
Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck
Minister of General Affairs
(interim)

1939–1940
Succeeded by
Hendrik van Boeijen
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1939–1940
Succeeded by
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Preceded by
Christiaan Wilhelm Bodenhausen
Minister of Finance
1939–1940
Succeeded by
Charles Welter