Esther Ouwehand

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Esther Ouwehand
Esther Ouwehand (cropped).jpg
Leader of the Party for the Animals
Assumed office
9 October 2019
Preceded byMarianne Thieme
Leader of the Party for the Animals
in the House of Representatives
Assumed office
9 October 2019
Preceded byMarianne Thieme
Member of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
18 October 2016
In office
30 November 2006 – 17 November 2015
Personal details
Born (1976-06-10) 10 June 1976 (age 45)
Katwijk, Netherlands
Political partyParty for the Animals
Residence(s)Leiden, Netherlands
EducationVrije Universiteit Amsterdam (dropped out)
  • Politician
  • marketer
WebsiteParty for the Animals (in English)

Esther Ouwehand (born 10 June 1976) is a Dutch politician and former marketing manager serving as leader of the Party for the Animals (Dutch: Partij voor de Dieren, PvdD) and its parliamentary group in the House of Representatives since 2019. She has been a member of the House of Representatives since the 2006 election with a brief interruption between 2015 and 2016.


Personal life[edit]

Esther Ouwehand went to secondary school in Katwijk, where she finished her vwo (Dutch pre-university education). She studied "Policy, communication and organisation" (Dutch: beleid, communicatie en organisatie) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which she did not finish.[1][2]

Ouwehand is married and currently resides in Leiden.

She was raised a Protestant but is currently an agnostic. She is vegan.[3]

Dutch webzine Lords of Metal conducted an interview with Esther Ouwehand in which she told about her deep rooted passion for hard rock and heavy metal music, in particular stoner metal.[4]


Initially, she did not consider a career in politics. She left a promising career in marketing, being junior marketing manager for youth magazines at Sanoma. She has additional functions as a committee member for youth centre "De Schuit" and the foundation "Factor Welzijn" in Katwijk.

Party for the Animals[edit]

She joined the Party for the Animals in October 2002 and became the party's co-ordinator in 2004. She was responsible for the management of the party's headquarters. She also co-authored the 2006 electoral program "220x liever..".

The general elections of 2006 were considered a great success for the party. The party gained 179,988 votes (1.8%), enough for two seats in the Dutch parliament. The party became the world's first party to gain parliamentary seats with an agenda focused primarily on animal rights.[5]

She was second on the election list, right after party chairwoman Marianne Thieme. Consequently, she became a member of parliament, even though she received a total of 4.370 write-in votes, about a hundred less than lijstduwer Kees van Kooten, who received 4.479 votes.[6] She was sworn in on 30 November 2006.

Contrary to her wishes she was not initially placed on the election list for the general elections of 2010, but the party members voted her on the second place, so she became re-elected.

Ouwehand temporarily resigned from the House on 17 November 2015 for health reasons and was replaced by Frank Wassenberg.[7] She returned to the House on 18 October 2016.[8][9]

On 8 October 2019, Ouwehand succeeded Marianne Thieme as parliamentary leader of the PvdD upon Thieme's retirement from the House of Representatives.[10]


  • 220x liever voor mens, dier, natuur en milieu: Verkiezingsprogramma Partij voor de Dieren, Tweede Kamerverkiezingen 2006. Esther Ouwehand c.s., Amsterdam, October 2006 [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Graduate programmes (Masters)" (in Dutch). Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Retrieved 11 November 2007.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Esther Ouwehand" (in Dutch). Tweede Kamer. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  3. ^ "150 volksvertegenwoordigers: ESTHER OUWEHAND" (in Dutch). Stichting Per Definitie. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  4. ^ "Beroemde Headbangers: Esther Ouwehand" (in Dutch). Lords of Metal - Ramon. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Uitslag van de Tweede Kamerverkiezing van 22 november 2006" (in Dutch). Kiesraad. 27 November 2006. Archived from the original on 5 November 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  6. ^ "Huub Oosterhuis en Kees van Kooten populair". De Volkskrant (in Dutch). 27 November 2006. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Frank Wassenberg tijdelijk Tweede Kamerlid voor de PvdD" (in Dutch). 17 November 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  8. ^ "E. (Esther) Ouwehand" (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  9. ^ "Ouwehand (PvdD) terug in Tweede Kamer" (in Dutch). de Telegraaf. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Animal party leader leaves parliament after 13 years". NL Times. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  11. ^ (in Dutch) Election 2006 manifesto

External links[edit]