Max van der Stoel

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His Excellency
Max van der Stoel
Max van der Stoel 1973 (2).jpg
Max van der Stoel in 1973
High Commissioner on National
of the OSCE
In office
1 January 1993 – 1 July 2001
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byRolf Ekeus
Member of the Council of State
In office
1 August 1986 – 1 January 1993
Vice PresidentWillem Scholten
Permanent Representative of the
Netherlands to the United Nations
In office
1 July 1983 – 1 August 1986
Preceded byHugo Scheltema
Succeeded byUnknown
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
11 September 1981 – 29 May 1982
Prime MinisterDries van Agt
Preceded byChris van der Klaauw
Succeeded byDries van Agt
In office
11 May 1973 – 19 December 1977
Prime MinisterJoop den Uyl
Preceded byNorbert Schmelzer
Succeeded byChris van der Klaauw
Member of the European Parliament
for the Netherlands
In office
22 September 1971 – 11 May 1973
Parliamentary groupSocialist Group
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
In office
22 July 1965 – 22 November 1966
Serving with Leo de Block
Prime MinisterJo Cals
Preceded byIsaäc Nicolaas Diepenhorst
Succeeded byLeo de Block
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
16 January 1978 – 11 September 1981
In office
8 June 1977 – 8 September 1977
In office
23 February 1967 – 11 May 1973
In office
5 June 1963 – 22 July 1965
Parliamentary groupLabour Party
Member of the Senate
In office
27 September 1960 – 5 June 1963
Parliamentary groupLabour Party
Personal details
BornMaximilianus van der Stoel
(1924-08-03)3 August 1924
Voorschoten, Netherlands
Died23 April 2011(2011-04-23) (aged 86)
The Hague, Netherlands
Political partyLabour Party
Maria Aritia de Kanter
(m. 1953; div. 1976)
Children4 daughters and 1 son
Alma materLeiden University
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws)
OccupationPolitician · Diplomat · Civil servant · Jurist · Professor

Maximilianus "Max" van der Stoel (Dutch pronunciation: [ˌmɑksimiliˈjaːnɵs ˈmɑks fɑn dɛr ˈstul];[note 1] 3 August 1924 – 23 April 2011) was a Dutch politician and diplomat of the Labour Party.

On 17 May 1991, he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State.[1]


Van der Stoel with Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, 1977

Van der Stoel studied law at Leiden University where he obtained an LL.M. degree. From 1953 to 1958 he worked for the Wiardi Beckman Stichting, the scientific bureau of the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA, the Dutch labour party) and became international secretary for the PvdA in 1963. From 1973 to 1977 and 1981 to 1982 he was the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1977, during his visit to communist Czechoslovakia, he met with philosopher and dissident Jan Pato?ka, and they discussed Charter 77 and human rights in Czechoslovakia.[2][3] This provoked harsh criticism by the Czechoslovak authorities and president Gustáv Husák cancelled scheduled meeting with van der Stoel.[2]

He was appointed as the first High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in December 1992 and took up his functions in January 1993. He remained in office until 2000. Max van der Stoel was a member of the Bilderberg Group.[citation needed]

In 2001, following his intervention as High Commissioner in the ongoing problem of equitable access to higher education by members of the Albanian ethnic group in the Republic of Macedonia, he became the founding President of the International Foundation for the South East European University, raising some 35m Euros from the international community. He later served as President of the University Board until 2004. He was awarded the University's first honorary Doctorate and the University named its Library in his honour.

Van der Stoel was a member of the Advisory Board of the European Association of History Educators (EUROCLIO).

Freedom awards[edit]

  • Freedom of Speech of the Four Freedoms Award (1982)
  • Helène de Montigny award (December 1991)
  • Dr. J.P. van Praag award (1 June 1993, Netherlands)
  • Geuzenpenning (1993, Netherlands)
  • Wateler Peace award (30 oktober 1996)

Honorary degrees[edit]


  • In 2014, a new park in Prague (in Jan Patočka street) was named in van der Stoel's honour.[3] In 2017, forty years after his meeting with Jan Pato?ka, Van der Stoel's memorial created by Dominik Lang was unveiled in the park.[4]


Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Knight BAR.png Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 5 December 1966
Order of Orange ribbon.gif Honorary Medal for Initiative
and Ingenuity of the Order of the House of Orange
Netherlands 19 September 1974
Order of the Palm (Suriname) - ribbon bar.png Grand Officer of the Honorary Order of the Palm Suriname 4 September 1977
GRE Order of the Phoenix - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix Greece 10 December 1977
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Grand Officer BAR.png Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 9 September 1982 Elevated from Commander (11 April 1978)
CZE Rad T-G-Masaryka 2tr (1994) BAR.svg Second Class of the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk Czech Republic 15 May 1996 [5]
Ordre du Lion d'Or de la Maison de Nassau ribbon.svg Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau Netherlands 31 August 1999
SVK Rad Bieleho Dvojkriza 1 triedy BAR.svg Grand Cross of the Order of the White Double Cross Slovakia 5 February 2001 [6]
Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise 4th and 5th Class of Ukraine.png Fourth Class of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise Ukraine 30 September 2001 [7]
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George United Kingdom 1 December 2006
Honorific Titles
Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Minister of State Netherlands 17 May 1991 Style of Excellency


  1. ^ (in Dutch) Mr. M. van der Stoel[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b T?ma, Old?ich (2008). "Snídan? s Mitterandem" [Breakfast with Mitterand]. D?jiny a sou?asnost. Nakladatelství Lidové noviny (2). Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Park for Everybody". 2014-09-29. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  4. ^ "Dominik Lang vytvo?il památník Maxe van der Stoela – prvního západního politika, který potvrdil význam Charty 77" (in Czech). 2014-09-29.
  5. ^ "State decorations - Tomas Garrigue Masaryk Order - List". Office of the President of the Republic. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  6. ^ "State decorations - Tomas Garrigue Masaryk Order - List". Office of the President of the Republic. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
  7. ^ Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 885/2001

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Isaäc Nicolaas Diepenhorst
State Secretary for
Foreign Affairs

Served alongside: Leo de Block
Succeeded by
Leo de Block
Preceded by
Norbert Schmelzer
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Chris van der Klaauw
Preceded by
Chris van der Klaauw
Succeeded by
Dries van Agt
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Hugo Scheltema
Permanent Representative of the
Netherlands to the United Nations

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Office established
High Commissioner on National
of the OSCE

Succeeded by
Rolf Ekeus

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