Piet de Jong
Petrus Jozef Sietse "Piet" de Jong (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpeːtrɵs ˈjoːzəf ˈsitsə ˈpit də ˈjɔŋ]; 3 April 1915 – 27 July 2016) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and naval officer who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 5 April 1967 to 6 July 1971.
De Jong applied at the Royal Naval College in Den Helder and graduated as an Ensign in the Navy and joined the Submarine Service. During World War II he served on the submarine HNLMS O 24 as First Officer and later as Commanding officer and saw action in both the Battle of the Atlantic and the Pacific War. After the War De Jong served as a staff officer and commanded a frigate and destroyer. After the election of 1959 De Jong was unexpectedly appointed as State Secretary for Defence tasked with Naval Affairs taking office on 25 June 1959. After the election of 1963 De Jong was appointed as Minister of Defence in the Cabinet Marijnen taking office on 24 July 1963. The Cabinet Marijnen fell 19 months into its term and was replaced by the Cabinet Cals with De Jong continuing his office. The Cabinet Cals fell just one year later and was replaced by the caretaker Cabinet Zijlstra and De Jong retained his position. After the election of 1967 De Jong was elected as Member of the House of Representatives on 23 February 1967. Following several failed coalition attempts De Jong was asked to lead a new cabinet and following a successful cabinet formation formed the Cabinet De Jong and became Prime Minister of the Netherlands taking office on 5 April 1967.
For the election of 1971 the Catholics declined to nominate De Jong as Lijsttrekker (top candidate) and shortly thereafter De Jong announced that he wouldn't stand for the election. De Jong left office following the installation of the Cabinet Biesheuvel I on 6 July 1971. De Jong continued to be active in politics and was elected as a Member of the Senate after the Senate election of 1971 and became Parliamentary leader serving from 11 May 1971 until 17 September 1974.
De Jong retired from active politics at 59 and became active in the private and public sectors as a corporate and non-profit director and served on several state commissions and councils and as a diplomat and lobbyist for several economic delegations on behalf of the government. De Jong was known for his abilities as an effective team leader and skillful negotiator. During his premiership, his cabinet was responsible for several major reforms to education, social security, taxes, overseeing improvement in relations with the former Dutch East Indies, handling the Counterculture of the 1960s, the fallout of the Vietnam and dealing with several major crises such as the Moluccans incidents. De Jong continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death in July 2016 at the age of 101. He holds the distinction as the first Prime Minister after World War II to complete a full term without any internal conflicts and holds the record as the second longest-lived Prime Minister at 101 years, 115 days and his premiership is consistently regarded both by scholars and the public to have been one of the best in Dutch history.
Petrus Jozef Sietse de Jong was born on 3 April 1915 in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands province of Gelderland in a Roman Catholic family that originated from Friesland, as the sixth of seven children of Joännes Jans de Jong (24 February 1878 – 28 November 1931), a railroad superintendent, and Gijsberta Adriana Schouten (29 December 1877 – 30 June 1957). After leaving secondary school, de Koninklijke Hogereburgerschool (now de Koninklijke Scholengemeenschap), he joined the Royal Netherlands Navy as a midshipman in 1931 and subsequently attended the Royal Netherlands Naval College in Den Helder. In 1934, he received his commission as a Sub-lieutenant.
World War II
After his graduation in 1934, he served a short time in the Dutch East Indies before he entered service in the Royal Netherlands Navy Submarine Service. On 10 May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the government fled to London to escape the German occupation. De Jong then an Lieutenant junior grade was giving a battlefield promotion and command of the nearly finished submarine HNLMS O 24 and was ordered to bring the submarine to the HMNB Portsmouth naval base in Portsmouth, England. De Jong successfully navigated the HNLMS O 24 through English Channel and was awarded the Bronze Cross for bravery on 16 July 1940. De Jong served as First Officer on the HNLMS O 24 from July 1940 until October 1944 fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic from July 1940 until July 1942 when the HNLMS O 24 was transferred to the British Eastern Fleet to fight in the Pacific War. On 8 July 1943 De Jong was awarded the Bronze Cross for bravery a second time. On 25 October 1944 De Jong was promoted to Lieutenant commander and was appointment as Commanding officer of the HNLMS O 24. Under his command the HNLMS O 24 initially continued in the Pacific War. Following the end of World War II De Jong continued to serve in the Royal Netherlands Navy holding several administrative functions. On 14 November 1951 De Jong was appointment as Commanding Officer of the frigate HNLMS De Zeeuw and on 20 October 1951 De Jong was transferred to the Allied Command Channel at the HMNB Portsmouth naval base in Portsmouth, England as a senior staff officer. In April 1953 De Jong was promoted to Commander and in March 1955 De Jong was appointment as chief of staff to the Inspector General of the Navy Lieutenant admiral Prince Bernhard and as chief military adjutant and senior aide-de-camp to Queen Juliana. In October 1958 De Jong was promoted to Captain and appointment as Commanding Officer of the destroyer HNLMS Gelderland.
On 7 June 1959, during a NATO naval exercises near Scotland, De Jong received an unexpected telegram with the orders that he was to report the next day to Vice Admiral Leendert Brouwer, the Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy himself, De Jong was summoned because of his "appointment" as State Secretary for Defence in the new Cabinet de Quay. De Jong was airlifted from HNLMS Gelderland by helicopter and transported to the aircraft carrier HNLMS Karel Doorman. It was the second time that De Jong was asked for a political office, for the Dutch general election of 1956 he was approached by Carl Romme the leader of the Catholic People's Party for a seat in the House of Representatives but De Jong respectfully declined his offer, and stated: "I don't have political ambitions, I want to become an admiral".
During that time the independence of the Royal Netherlands Navy in the Armed forces of the Netherlands was in question, the main focus of the discussion was the new command structure for all the service branches. Both a horizontal-structure and vertical-structure had their proponents and opponents, the Royal Netherlands Navy was historically a proponent of a vertical-structure but the horizontal-structure received increasing support, including from the then Minister of War and the Navy Kees Staf. During the cabinet formation for the Cabinet de Quay the decision was made to go with the horizontal-structure and the first step was made with the combining of the Ministry of War and the Ministry of the Navy. With the combining of the ministries a serious efficiency problem in the Ministry of War was discovered, while the Ministry of the Navy was thought to be in an excellent administrative condition.
After his meeting with Admiral Brouwer, De Jong reported to the incoming Minister of Defence Sidney J. van den Bergh, who formally asked De Jong to become the new State Secretary for Defence. De Jong was given a few days to think it over and he used that time to speak with Carl Romme. De Jong informed him that he was not a member of the Catholic People's Party but Romme respond by saying: "You are not a member of a different party? No, but you are a Roman Catholic? Then we will we see you as one of us." Romme did advise De Jong to become a member of the Catholic People's Party after six months. On 11 June 1959, De Jong reported back to Van den Bergh and was told about the new horizontal-structure, De Jong who was a proponent of a vertical-structure was left with a few remarks. The next day the meeting was continued in the presence of the incoming Secretary-General for the Ministry of Defence Duyverman who was going to be responsible for all financial and budgetary affairs for the Ministry of Defence. De Jong objected, he thought he could not be politically responsible as the State Secretary for Defence if he wasn't responsible for all financial affairs for his own department, Van den Bergh became irritated with De Jongs position on the matter and the meeting was adjourned for 16 June 1959.
From 5 April 1967 to 6 July 1971, he was Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of General Affairs in the De Jong cabinet. His Cabinet was the first Cabinet of the Netherlands since World War II that served a full four-year term without crises.
His cabinet was confronted with a demand for democratic reforms in the society and it decided to democratise colleges and universities after the famous Maagdenhuisbezetting. Plans were made to modernise politics by establishing an electoral system with districts or a chosen Prime Minister, but these plans were not implemented. Meanwhile, a pay pause due to the decision of employers and employees to raise wages was partly revoked after anti-government demonstrations and strikes. The Minister of Economic Affairs Leo de Block resigned, officially as a protest against the wage rise in the metal industry, but another reason was his slow reaction to the inflation and rising prices after the introduction of Value added tax. More unrest took shape in demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Internationally, relations with Indonesia improved, resulting in a visit by president Suharto which was, however, overshadowed by the occupation of the Indonesian embassy by Moluccans. The Soviet Union invasion in Czechoslovakia was seen as a reason to increase the defence budget. During his term as Prime Minister of the Netherlands De Jong met with numeral state leaders, including then President Richard Nixon, Presidents of France Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou. He was present in the hospital when Prince Claus announced the birth of his son Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange on 27 April 1967.
After serving as Prime Minister of the Netherlands De Jong became a member of the Senate, where he served from 1971 to 1974 and as the Parliamentary leader in the Senate. In 1972, he was passed by the Cabinet Biesheuvel II for the position of Vice President of the Council of State In 1973, he passed the mayoralty of Eindhoven.
Following the end of his active political career, De Jong occupied many posts in industry and seats on numerous supervisory boards. In December 1990 he was selected to lead a diplomatic mission to Iraq to free Dutch hostages, but ultimately the mission was cancelled.
On 25 March 2010, De Jong, still visibly spirituous and active, gave a speech at Nieuwspoort (Newsgate) about the publication of the biography of former Minister of Foreign Affairs and the 5th Secretary General of NATO Joseph Luns. On 24 April 2010 during the annual Christian Democratic Appeal party conference, De Jong spoke about former Deputy Prime Minister and Labour Party party leader Wouter Bos and his actions which led to the fall of the Cabinet Balkenende IV.
After the Dutch general election of 2010, the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) suffered a disappointing election result, and Informateur Ivo Opstelten announced the formation of a new centre-right coalition cabinet composed of the winner of the election, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), and De Jong's own CDA, but with the support of the Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders. De Jong spoke against this support and said that the PVV's stand on freedom of religion was a deal-breaker.
On 30 March 2012, De Jong and several other prominent CDA members, including fellow former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, former Ministers of Foreign Affairs Hans van den Broek, Pieter Kooijmans and Ben Bot, former Ministers for Development Cooperation Piet Bukman and Agnes van Ardenne, and former ministers Wim Deetman and Ernst Hirsch Ballin and former State Secretary Karien van Gennip all signed a petition of disapproval for the proposed cuts to the budget of international development by the Cabinet Rutte I. De Jong responded by announcing that he would leave the CDA if the cuts were implemented. He expressed satisfaction about the fall of the Cabinet Rutte I in 2012, calling it a "lame cabinet".
De Jong was present at the ascension of Willem-Alexander to the Dutch throne on 30 April 2013. He was Prime Minister at the time of the King's birth. At the age of 98 he was the oldest person attending the ceremony.
On 1 December 2013, De Jong and fellow former prime ministers Dries van Agt and Ruud Lubbers were present at the presentation of the book Polarisatie en hoogconjunctuur, a book about Dutch politics in the 1960s. De Jong received the first copy from incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Reputation and legacy
During his time as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, he was accused of not showing enough strength and too little action when needed during the social revolution of the 1960s by some of the counterculture of that time. De Jong was frequently labelled as old-fashioned, and that old-fashioned image was reinforced by his bowler hat, which he wore frequently outside, a custom he picked up during his time living in England during World War II. In contrast the Silent majority were reported to be content with the policies of his cabinet. More than forty years later, De Jong is considered by many to have made well thought-out decisions during his time as Prime Minister and when needed showed enough strength with a far more progressive ideology than he was credited for at the time.
Politicians from the entire political spectrum have labelled De Jong as one of the better prime ministers of the Netherlands. In an episode of the Dutch television programme Netwerk aired in 2005, he is even labelled as perhaps the best postwar Prime Minister of the Netherlands. This view has been shared by numerous high-profile current and former Dutch politicians, including former Prime Minister Dries van Agt and former Deputy Prime Minister Hans Wiegel, who praised De Jong being perhaps the best Prime Minister after World War II. Former Member of the Senate and Righteous Among the Nations Johan van Hulst said that of all the prime ministers he worked with in twenty-five years, De Jong was the best. On 23 March 2011, the history channel Hollanddoc devoted an episode about his life with the quote "Attention for the least-known prime minister after World War II, but perhaps the most successful: Piet de Jong" In November 2011, the second edition of his in 2001 released biography Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof. P.J.S. de Jong (From offshore to Binnenhof. P.J.S. de Jong) became well received and further enhanced his reputation: "He showed himself a team leader with perspective and humor. The ideal manager in a time of crisis of authority, polarization and social unrest."
De Jong said to Queen Juliana, for whom he had served as aide-de-camp, when he was sworn in as State Secretary for Defence, "Majesty, there you see how a person comes down in the world." (Dutch: "Majesteit, zo ziet u maar hoe een mens aan lager wal kan raken.") And in a response to a delicate question of a radio reporter, when asked what his thoughts on pornography were, he said, "As far as I know, pornography is the only working medicine against seasickness." When later a Belgian minister spoke negatively about the libertarian ideas of the Dutch on pornography, he responded, "Well, the Belgians aren't a seafaring people, are they?"
After World War II, De Jong married former resistance fighter Anna Geertruida Jacoba Henriëtte "Anneke" Bartels (8 January 1915 – 6 January 2010). At the time when they met Bartels was serving in the women's division of the Royal Netherlands Navy. They married on 26 June 1947 and had one daughter and two sons, Maria (born 31 May 1948) Jos (born 31 August 1949) and Gijs (born 15 October 1952). Anneke Bartels died on 6 January 2010 two days before her ninety-fifth birthday after suffering from heart and lung illnesses since 2000.
At the age of 101 years, 115 days, De Jong was the oldest living and earliest serving former Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the oldest living former Member of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands overall. De Jong was the second oldest Prime Minister of the Netherlands by age after Willem Drees who lived to 101 years, 314 days. From 9 August 2013, when former Ecuador President Telmo Vargas died until his own death, De Jong was the oldest living former head of state or government.
Piet de Jong died on 27 July 2016 at his home in The Hague at the age of 101. Having survived his wife by six years, De Jong was survived by his three children, eight grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.
|Ensign (Lieutenant ter zee 3e klasse)||1934|
|Lieutenant junior grade (Lieutenant ter zee der 2de klasse)||1936|
|Lieutenant commander (Lieutenant ter zee der 1ste klasse)||1944|
|Commander (Kapitein-lieutenant ter zee)||1953|
|Bronze Cross (2)||Netherlands||16 July 1940 / 8 July 1943|
|Medal for Order and Peace||Netherlands|
|War Memorial Cross||Netherlands|
|Distinguished Service Cross||United Kingdom|
|Commander of the Order of the Sword||Sweden|
|Order of Naval Merit||Argentina|
|United Nations Korea Medal||United Nations|
|Grand Officer of the Order of the House of Orange||Netherlands||1958|
|Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau||Netherlands||17 July 1971|
|Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold II||Belgium|
|Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins||Chile|
|Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order||United Kingdom|
|Officer of the Order of the Star of Africa||Liberia|
|Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver of the
Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic
- "P.J.S. (Piet) de Jong". www.parlement.com.
- Lentz, Harris M. (2014). "Heads of States and Governments Since 1945". Routledge. p. 580. ISBN 978-1-134-26490-2.
- (in Dutch) ‘De oorlog was de oorzaak van geduvel in ’68’, NRC Handelsblad, 10 May 2008
- (in English) Piet de Jong AKA Petrus Jozef Sietze de Jong, NNDB, 6 May 2006
- (in Dutch) P. J. S. (Piet) de Jong 5 April 1967 – 6 juli 1971, Geschiedenis24, 9 December 2005
- (in Dutch) De putschisten zijn onder ons, De Groene Amsterdammer, 28 October 2005
- (in Dutch) Piet de Jong Archived 7 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Katholieknieuwsblad, 6 July 2012
- (in Dutch) Willem Drees gekozen tot ‘Dé premier na WO II’, Geschiedenis24.nl, 15 January 2006
- (in Dutch) NRC-enquête: Drees en Lubbers beste premiers sinds 1900, NRC Handelsblad, 28 September 2013
- (in Dutch) I&O Research, I&O Research, 13 March 2020
- (in Dutch) Ik zag de schepen en wist wat ik wilde worden, Trouw, 7 June 2008
- (in Dutch) DVD over verdwenen onderzeeër O13 uitgereikt aan oud-premier De Jong (99) Archived 15 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Dichtbij.nl, 15 May 2014
- Brouwer, Jan Willem; van Merriënboer, Johan (2001). Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof: P.J.S. de Jong, een biografie. Sdu Uitgevers. ISBN 9789012087742. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- (in Dutch) Gehele toespraak Piet de Jong over Joseph Luns, NOS, 25 March 2010
- (in Dutch) Oud-CDA-premier Piet de Jong haalt uit naar Wouter Bos, NOS, 24 April 2010
- (in Dutch) Kritiek oud-premier De Jong op CDA, NU.nl, 24 Augustus 2010
- (in English) Former CDA ministers warn coalition not to cut aid budget, Dutchnews.nl, 30 March 2012
- (in Dutch) Waarschuwing oud-CDA-ministers, Dutchnews.nl, 30 March 2012
- (in Dutch) De Jong dreigt CDA te verlaten, NOS, 30 March 2012
- (in Dutch) Piet de Jong dreigt CDA te verlaten, NU.nl, 31 March 2012
- (in Dutch) Genodigden naar Nieuwe Kerk, NOS, 30 April 2013
- (in Dutch) Toespraak Rutte bij presentatie boek over kabinet-De Jong, Rijksoverheid, 2 December 2013
- (in Dutch) Hechte team-De Jong laveerde soepel door de roerige jaren zestig, Parlement & Politiek, 3 December 2013
- (in Dutch) on YouTube, Pauw en Witteman, 9 September 2009
- (in Dutch) Na 30 jaar eindelijk lof voor Piet de Jong, Trouw, 28 November 2001
- (in Dutch) Het Gesprek – oud-senator Johan van Hulst (100), NCRV, 23 May 2011
- (in Dutch) Profiel Afl. Piet de Jong Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Hollanddoc.nl, 22 March 2011
- (in Dutch) Van buitengaats naar Binnenhof. P.J.S. de Jong, Uitgeverijboom.nl, 25 November 2011
- (in Dutch) Na het grote nee en de metamorfose van de VVD lijken de dagen van het kabinet geteld Dat onze premier charisma ontbeert, 'soit', maar hij schiet tekort in de meest alledaagse communicatie, Trouw, 11 June 2005
- (in Dutch) Pietje, Reformed Political Party, 3 October 2010
- (in Dutch) Huwelijksduur premiers, Allesopeenrij.nl, 21 March 2010
- (in Dutch) Oud-premier Piet de Jong (97) Archived 14 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Katholieke Radio Omroep, 27 April 2012
- "Piet de Jong, Dutch politician and naval officer, Died at 101". 2 August 2016.
- (in English) Biography of the Dutch Submarine Commander P.J.S. de Jong Archived 22 January 2013 at Archive.today, Dutchsubmarines.com, 24 December 2006
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Piet de Jong.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Piet de Jong|
- (in Dutch) P.J.S. (Piet) de Jong Parlement & Politiek
- (in Dutch) P.J.S. de Jong (KVP) Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal
- (in Dutch) Kabinet-De Jong Rijksoverheid
|Party political offices|
| Parliamentary leader of the
Catholic People's Party
in the Senate
| State Secretary for Defence
Adri van Es
Willem den Toom
| Minister of Defence
Willem den Toom
| Minister of General Affairs
| Prime Minister of the Netherlands|
Wopke Johan de Vries
| Commanding officer
of HNLMS O 24
| Commanding officer
of HNLMS De Zeeuw
| Commanding officer
of HNLMS Gelderland