Hans Wiegel

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His Excellency
Hans Wiegel
Wiegel.jpg
Member of the Senate of the Netherlands
In office
13 June 1995 – 1 April 2000
Queen's Commissioner of Friesland
In office
16 June 1982 – 1 February 1994
Monarch Beatrix
Preceded by Hedzer Rijpstra
Succeeded by Loek Hermans
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
In office
1 July 1971 – 20 April 1982
Preceded by Molly Geertsema
Succeeded by Ed Nijpels
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
19 December 1977 – 11 September 1981
Prime Minister Dries van Agt
Preceded by Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Succeeded by Joop den Uyl
Jan Terlouw
Minister of the Interior of the Netherlands
In office
19 December 1977 – 11 September 1981
Prime Minister Dries van Agt
Preceded by Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Succeeded by Ed van Thijn
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
In office
25 August 1981 – 20 April 1982
Preceded by Koos Rietkerk
Succeeded by Ed Nijpels
In office
20 July 1971 – 19 December 1977
Preceded by Molly Geertsema
Succeeded by Koos Rietkerk
Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
In office
25 August 1981 – 1 May 1982
In office
18 April 1967 – 19 December 1977
Personal details
Born Hans Wiegel
(1941-07-16) 16 July 1941 (age 74)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (from 1963)
Spouse(s) Pien Frederiks
(m. 1973–1980; her death)
Marianne Frederiks
(m. 1982–2005; her death)
Domestic partner Madelon Spoor
(2006–2010)
Children Erik (born 1975)
Marieke (born 1977)
Residence Oudega, Netherlands
Alma mater University of Amsterdam (Bachelor of Social Science)
Occupation Politician
Corporate director
Columnist
Political pundit
Nickname(s) The Oracle of Leeuwarden
The Great Icemaster

Hans Wiegel (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈhɑns ˈʋiɣəl]; born 16 July 1941) is a retired Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Wiegel a corporate director by cccupation, was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on 18 April 1967 after the Dutch general election of 1967. After the Dutch general election of 1971 the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Molly Geertsema became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Biesheuvel I, Wiegel was chosen to succeed him in both positions. He became youngest Leader of a political party in Netherlands ever at the age of just twenty-nine on 1 July 1971. Wiegel became the Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives on 20 July 1971. For the Dutch general election of 1972 Wiegel was the Lijsttrekker (top candidate) and won six seats in the House of Representatives. Wiegel served as opposition leader against then Prime Minister Joop den Uyl and his cabinet. After the Dutch general election of 1977 Wiegel for a second time as Lijsttrekker won again six seats and after a long formation period a coalition agreement with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) was made which formed the Cabinet Van Agt-Wiegel. Wiegel became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior serving from 19 December 1977 until 11 September 1981. For the Dutch general election of 1981 Wiegel again as Lijsttrekker lost two seats and he returned as the Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives and a Member of the House of Representatives serving 25 August 1981 until 20 April 1982 when he announced his departure from national politics to become the Queen's Commissioner of Friesland. Wiegel was succeeded as Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives by his chosen successor Ed Nijpels. Wiegel served as Queen's Commissioner of Friesland from 16 June 1982 until 1 February 1994. After the Dutch Senate election of 1995, Wiegel became a Member of the Senate serving from 13 June 1995, until 1 April 2000. In 1999 Wiegel caused a short cabinet crisis by voting against the constitutional revision that would make national referendums possible. This crisis is called the Night of Wiegel.

Wiegel retired from active politics at the age of fifty-eight. Following the end of his active political career, Wiegel occupied occupied numerous seats on supervisory boards in the business and industry world and several international non-governmental organizations (ABN AMRO, Staatsbosbeheer, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, Achmea, Ronald McDonald House Charities, VNO-NCW and the Netherlands Healthcare insurance board).

Wiegel is known for his wit and anecdotes. His abilities as a debater with candidness and humour were greatly admired. Wiegel continues to comment on political affairs as an statesman.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hans Wiegel was born on 16 July 1941 in Amsterdam in the Netherlands Province of North Holland in a secular family as the only son of Wilhelm Wiegel III (born 21 March 1913) in Amsterdam and Sophia Maria Alberdina Smolenaars (born 3 November 1915) in Cimahi in the Dutch East Indies. After completing gymnasium in Hilversum in 1959, Wiegel started studying law at the University of Amsterdam. After a couple of months he switched his major to political science and earned a Bachelor of Social Science in 1965. He decided not to pursue a master's degree. Instead, he became involved in politics. Wiegel has been active within the youth wing of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, the Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy, of which he had been a member since 1961. In 1963 he was appointed to its national board and served as Chairmen from 1965 until 1966.

Politics[edit]

In 1967 Wiegel was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives. In 1971, when he was only thirty years old, he became the Leader of his party. During the period of the Cabinet Den Uyl Wiegel acted as the main Leader of the Opposition against the Cabinet and Prime Minister Joop den Uyl. In 1977 he negotiated the formation of the Cabinet Van Agt-Wiegel, in this cabinet he became Minister of the Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, Wiegel prepared the constitutional revision of 1983.

Hans Wiegel as a Member of the House of Representatives in 1968.
Hans Wiegel as Minister of the Interior in 1978.

In 1995 he was elected as a Member of the Senate. In 1999 Wiegel caused a short cabinet crisis by voting against the constitutional revision that would make national referendums possible. This crisis is called the Night of Wiegel. Wiegel left the Senate in 2000, soon after the Night of Wiegel. Wiegel led the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in Dutch general election of 1972, Dutch general election of 1977, and Dutch General Election of 1981. During his leadership the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy orientation shifted away from the upper class and towards the middle class and educated workers; this led to electoral success.

In 1982 Wiegel left national politics. He was awarded honorary membership of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and became Queen's Commissioner of Friesland from 16 June 1982 until 1 February 1994. During his period as Queen's Commissioner Wiegel became known as the "Oracle of Diever", because he played an important role advising the VVD and commenting on events in national politics. In 1986 Wiegel was asked to return to the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; he refused, however.

Comeback (or not)[edit]

On the evening of 6 May 2002 in Leeuwarden, he would be meeting with Pim Fortuyn, who saw in Wiegel a suitable Prime Minister. Earlier that day, however was Fortuyn assassinated in Hilversum.[2][3]

In October 2005 the local branch of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in Alphen aan den Rijn called all other local branches to sign a petition to get Wiegel back in active politics. More than 90% of the branches supported this petition. Wiegel wanted to announce whether he is making a comeback or not in March/April 2006. However then leader Jozias van Aartsen stated in January 2006 that Wiegel most likely will be the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy's candidate for Prime Minister in the 2007 elections. In the last years the Dutch press has speculated - he rarely responds to rumors - whether Wiegel will make a comeback.

On March 8, 2006, the day after a poor showing of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the Dutch municipal elections of 2006, Wiegel issued a press statement to the effect that he will not return to Dutch politics again.[4]

On 22 November 2007 Wiegel was announced that he should go to the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in a broad liberal movement together with the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, Rita Verdonk's Proud of the Netherlands and the Democrats 66. Besides Rita Verdonk none of these parties favor of this plan. On September 15, 2009 he repeated these words in the morning bulletin Goodmorning Netherlands Wiegel then called his party should seek cooperation with the Party for Freedom.[5]

Thirty years after leaving national politics, Wiegel is still mentioned often as a potential Prime Minister. He still is very popular among People's Party for Freedom and Democracy party members in the Netherlands. He has 'threatened' to return to national politics a number of times, usually resulting in the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy going up in the polls. His opponents admonish this behaviour, implying that he is just trying to keep himself from being forgotten.[6][7]

On 12 April 2010 during a broadcast of the Dutch TV program De Wereld Draait Door Wiegel humoristic joked to be the best Prime Minister the Netherlands never had. That view was shared by politician Joost Eerdmans on Wiegel's seventieth birthday.[8] On 29 May 2012 in an interview with the Algemeen Dagblad he expressed criticism on the agreement the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Christian Democratic Appeal made with the Democrats 66, GreenLeft and ChristianUnion on the budgetary crisis and called it "a serious strategic error".[9][10]

Personal[edit]

Wiegel married his first wife Jacqueline Francina "Pien" Frederiks (born 9 September 1954) on June 1, 1973. He had two children with her, Erik (born 1975) and Marieke (born 1977). On 6 November 1980 tragedy struck when Pien Frederiks died of complications from suffering a car crash, she was twenty-six years old. She left her two young children behind Erik (five) and Marieke (three). On 7 April 1982 Wiegel quietly remarried to his late wife's older sister Marianne Frederiks (born 21 September 1951). On 6 January 2005 tragedy struck again for the now sixty-three-year-old Wiegel when, in an sad twist of fate, Marianne Frederiks died in a car crash at the age of fifty-three. From 2006 until 2010 Wiegel had a relation with Madelon Spoor.

Decorations[edit]

Honours
Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Knight BAR.png Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 26 October 1981
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Grand Officer BAR.png Grand Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau Netherlands 20 January 1994 Elevated from Commander
(28 April 1989)
BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown Belgium
Order of Civil Merit (Spain) GC.svg Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit Spain

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel houdt belofte van terugkeer levend, Trouw, 24 February 2005
  2. ^ (Dutch) HET KABINET-WIEGEL/FORTUYN, Volkskrant, 19 January 2002
  3. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel en Fortuyn hadden het kabinet al uitgetekend; en andere markante herinneringen aan Pim, Volkskrant, 17 April 2012
  4. ^ (Dutch) Hans Wiegel keert niet terug in de politiek, Nova, 8 March 2006
  5. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel pleit voor samenwerking VVD en PVV, NU.nl, 15 September 2009
  6. ^ (Dutch) VVD-coryfee Hans Wiegel is terug., NU.nl, 20 October 2006
  7. ^ (Dutch) Johan Fretz: 'Diep van binnen hoopt Hans Wiegel dat zijn kameraden hem bellen', NU.nl, 30 May 2012
  8. ^ (Dutch) Hans Wiegel 70 jaar: de beste premier die Nederland nooit had, WNL, 20 July 2011
  9. ^ (Dutch) Wiegel Kunduz-akkoord 'strategische fout' van VVD, Algemeen Dagblad, 29 May 2012
  10. ^ (Dutch) Hans Wiegel: Mark Rutte heeft een grote blunder gemaakt, Welingelichte Kringen, 29 May 2012

External links[edit]

Official
Party political offices
Preceded by
Molly Geertsema
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
1971–1982
Succeeded by
Ed Nijpels
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands

1971–1977
Succeeded by
Koos Rietkerk
Preceded by
Koos Rietkerk
Parliamentary leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands

1981–1982
Succeeded by
Ed Nijpels
Government offices
Preceded by
Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Minister of the Interior of the Netherlands
1977–1981
Succeeded by
Ed van Thijn
Political offices
Preceded by
Wilhelm Friedrich de Gaay Fortman
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1977–1981
Succeeded by
Joop den Uyl
Jan Terlouw
Preceded by
Hedzer Rijpstra
Queen's Commissioner of Friesland
1982–1994
Succeeded by
Loek Hermans
Business positions
New title Chairman of the Netherlands
Healthcare insurance board

1995–2012
Succeeded by
André Rouvoet
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Unknown
Chairman of Staatsbosbeheer
2002–2008
Succeeded by
Elco Brinkman
Honorary titles
New title Honorary Chairman of the Youth
Organisation Freedom and Democracy

1999–
Succeeded by
Incumbent