Sigrid Kaag

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Sigrid Kaag
Portretfoto Sigrid Kaag 2018 01 (crop).jpg
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Assumed office
10 January 2022
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byHugo de Jonge
Minister of Finance
Assumed office
10 January 2022
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byWopke Hoekstra
Leader of Democrats 66 in the House of Representatives
In office
28 September 2021 – 10 January 2022
Preceded byRob Jetten
Succeeded byJan Paternotte
In office
18 March 2021 – 25 May 2021
Preceded byRob Jetten
Succeeded byRob Jetten
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
31 March 2021 – 10 January 2022
Leader of the Democrats 66
Assumed office
4 September 2020
DeputyRob Jetten
Preceded byAlexander Pechtold
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
25 May 2021 – 17 September 2021
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byStef Blok
Succeeded byTom de Bruijn (Acting)
In office
13 February 2018 – 7 March 2018
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byHalbe Zijlstra
Succeeded byStef Blok
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
In office
26 October 2017 – 10 August 2021
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Preceded byLilianne Ploumen
Succeeded byTom de Bruijn
United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon
In office
17 January 2015 – 26 October 2017
Secretary GeneralBan Ki-moon
António Guterres
Preceded byDerek Plumbly
Succeeded byPernille Dahler Kardel (Acting)
United Nations Special Coordinator for Syria
In office
16 October 2013 – 30 September 2014
Secretary GeneralBan Ki-moon
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Personal details
Sigrid Agnes Maria Kaag

(1961-11-02) 2 November 1961 (age 60)
Rijswijk, Netherlands
Political partyDemocrats 66
Anis al-Qaq
(m. 1993)
EducationUtrecht University
American University in Cairo (BA)
St Antony's College, Oxford (MPhil)
University of Exeter (MA)

Sigrid Agnes Maria Kaag (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈsiɣrɪt ˈɑxnɛs maːˈrijaː ˈkaːx]; born 2 November 1961) is a Dutch diplomat and politician, serving as Minister of Finance and First Deputy Prime Minister in the Fourth Rutte cabinet. She previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 25 May 2021 until 17 September 2021 and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation from 26 October 2017 until 10 August 2021 in the Third Rutte cabinet.[1]

A diplomat by occupation, Kaag worked as a civil servant for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1990 until 1993 when she became a United Nations official for the UNRWA in Jerusalem from 1994 until 1997. Kaag worked as an administrator at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva from 1998 until 2004 when she became a senior advisor of the United Nations for Khartoum and Nairobi until 2005 when she became a senior official at UNICEF. Kaag served as Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa for UNICEF in Amman from 2007 until May 2010 when she was appointed Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau of External Relations of the UNDP in New York.[2] She oversaw UNDP's strategic external engagement, organization-wide communication and advocacy, as well as resource mobilization.[3][citation needed]

From January 2015 until October 2017 she served as the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL).[4] Prior to that she served as Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator of the United Nations – Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (UN-OPCW) Joint Mission to eliminate the declared chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic between October 2013 and September 2014. Until her mission in Syria she was employed as Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme.

Early life and education[edit]

Kaag was born in Rijswijk as the daughter of a classical pianist.[2][5] She grew up in Zeist and initially studied Arabic at Utrecht University, but later switched to The American University in Cairo where she obtained a B.A. degree in Middle East Studies in 1985.[6][7] She subsequently obtained an M.Phil. degree in International Relations from St Antony's College (University of Oxford) in 1987 and an M.A. degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter in 1988.[7] She also received foreign relations training at the Clingendael Institute in The Hague, and studied at the French École nationale d'administration (ENA).[7][8]


Early career[edit]

After her studies, Kaag worked as analyst for Royal Dutch Shell in London, United Kingdom.[3][9] Later, she worked for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Head of the UN Political Affairs Department. During her time in the diplomatic service, she lived and worked in Beirut, Vienna, and Khartoum.[9]

1994–2013: Career at the United Nations[edit]

Kaag started working for the United Nations in 1994 and first served as Senior United Nations Adviser in the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Khartoum, Sudan. From 1998 to 2004 she was Chief of Donor Relations for the International Organization for Migration and Senior Programme Manager with the External Relations Office of UNRWA in Jerusalem.[9] Working in the Middle East she was responsible for areas as the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria.

From 2007 to May 2010, Kaag was Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa for UNICEF in Amman. In May 2010 she was appointed Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy of the United Nations Development Programme in New York.[3] In this capacity, she was the deputy to Helen Clark and oversaw UNDP's strategic external engagement, organization-wide communication and advocacy, as well as resource mobilization.[2][citation needed]

2013–2014: Head of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria[edit]

On 13 October 2013, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon nominated Kaag to lead the OPCW-UN Joint Mission for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. The United Nations Security Council was set to vote on her nomination three days later, on 16 October.[10] She was then officially confirmed for the position.[11] Kaag led a team of one hundred experts who were responsible for ensuring the elimination of Syria's chemical weapon stockpiles before 30 June 2014.[12]

2014–2017: United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon[edit]

By the end of her term in September 2014, news media reported that Kaag was rumored to succeed Lakhdar Brahimi as UN Special Envoy to Syria.[2] On 1 December 2014, the UN Secretary General Ban announced that Kaag would become the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), succeeding Sir Derek Plumbly.[4][13]

In early 2017, Kaag was considered by international media to be one of the candidates to succeed Helen Clark as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and head of the United Nations Development Group;[14] the post eventually went to Achim Steiner.

2017–present: Minister and party leader[edit]

Kaag addressing the United Nations Security Council in 2018
Kaag meeting with State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi in 2018
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sigrid Kaag in 2019

In late October 2017, Kaag was called by D66 leader Alexander Pechtold and asked for a ministerial post.[15]

Since 26 October 2017, Kaag had been serving as the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte.[13] After the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Halbe Zijlstra (VVD) on 13 February 2018, she was appointed ad interim to succeed him while conserving her other cabinet position. Sigrid Kaag was consequently the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. She was replaced by Stef Blok as Foreign Affairs Minister on 7 March 2018.

Since 2018, Kaag has been serving on the joint World Bank/WHO Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), co-chaired by Elhadj As Sy and Gro Harlem Brundtland.[16] In 2019, she joined the World Economic Forum High-Level Group on Humanitarian Investing, co-chaired by Børge Brende, Kristalina Georgieva and Peter Maurer.[17]

Soon after joining the cabinet, there was speculation about Kaag's candidacy for the D66 list leadership, which had arisen after the resignation of Alexander Pechtold.[18] During this period, she also profiled herself by giving speeches,[19] often outside her own portfolio as a minister.[20]

On 21 June 2020, Kaag announced her candidacy for lijsttrekkerschap of the Democrats 66 party for the 2021 Dutch general election, with the ambition of becoming the Netherlands' first female Prime Minister.[21] Kajsa Ollongren and Rob Jetten were also speculated to stand as candidates, but both refrained from doing so.[22][23] The only opponent was therefore the unknown member Ton Visser, which resulted in Kaag winning the election with 95.7 percent of the votes.[24] She was elected as Party Leader on 4 September 2020, making her the second female party leader of D66 after Els Borst in 1998.[21] In this capacity, she led the party into the 2021 Dutch general election.[25][13] In the run-up to the election, the VPRO documentary Sigrid Kaag: van Beiroet tot Binnenhof was broadcast on 3 January 2021. Before this, Kaag had been followed for several years by documentary makers.[26] After the elections, GeenStijl published about the communication between the broadcasting company and D66 about the documentary, which they had obtained via a wob request. This showed that D66 did have a lot of substantive requests, some of which were granted, although this was denied beforehand. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also interfered, including the broadcast date of the documentary.[27] Initially, Kaag indicated that this was not at her request,[28] but soon admitted that she was responsible for it.[29] Following this report, the Dutch Media Authority (Commissariaat voor de Media) stated that there was no reason for further investigation, as editorial independence does not appear to have been violated.[30] D66's campaign for the Lower House elections in March 2021 with Kaag was successful.[31] They managed to grow by five seats to a total of 24 seats. This made them the second largest party, after the VVD.[32][33] She joined the Lower House as parliamentary party chairman on 31 March 2021.[34] During her HJ Schoo lecture in the Rode Hoed debating centre in September of the same year, she voiced fierce criticism of the political culture that had arisen partly under Rutte's leadership.[35] Shortly after, in April 2021, she joined forces with Wopke Hoekstra in putting forward a motion of censure to voice their disapproval of VVD-leader Rutte.[36]

Due to changes within the outgoing cabinet, Kaag was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs on 25 May 2021.[37] She combined this position with the ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation until 10 August 2021.[38] Thereafter, she was succeeded as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation by another former diplomat, Tom de Bruijn.[39] On 16 September 2021, the House of Representatives passed a motion of censure against her. A majority reproached her for the late evacuation of Dutch citizens in Afghanistan and of persons in that country who had worked for the Netherlands. In response to the passing of the motion of censure, Kaag announced her intention to resign as minister.[40] The King granted her resignation on 17 September,[41] and she was succeeded by Ben Knapen.[42]

After she negotiated in the 2021-2022 Dutch cabinet formation she returned jin the Fourth Rutte cabinet as Minister of Finance.

Honours and awards[edit]

Other activities[edit]

European Union organisations[edit]

International organizations[edit]

Non-profit organizations[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Kaag is married and has four children.[3][2] Her husband, Anis al-Qaq, is a dentist and a Palestinian national from Jerusalem who served as a deputy minister under Yasser Arafat in the 1990s and as the Palestinian representative to Switzerland.[59][60] Kaag is a noted polyglot and speaks six languages: Dutch, English, French, Spanish, German and Arabic.[12][61] She is a practicing Catholic.[62] She was the first Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General.


  1. ^ "Diplomate Sigrid Kaag wordt nu zelf de baas" (in Dutch). NOS. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Janine Di Giovanni (5 June 2014), Poison Control in Syria Newsweek.
  3. ^ a b c d "Secretary-General appoints Sigrid Kaag of Netherlands Director of Partnerships Bureau, United Nations Development Proggramme". United Nations. 3 May 2010. Archived from the original on 19 September 2018. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Ms. Sigrid Kaag". UNSCOL. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  5. ^ Theo Koelé (13 January 2014). "In licht van de tragedie is dit bescheiden missie" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  6. ^ Zijl, Frank van (20 November 2017). "Voor Sigrid Kaag is het ministerschap geen eindpost". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Sigrid Kaag". 10 January 2022. Retrieved 17 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Sigrid A. M. Kaag". UNDP. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Dutch woman Sigrid Kaag tasked with eradicating Syria's chemical weapons The Australian, 17 October 2013.
  10. ^ "U.N. names envoy to lead Syria chemical weapons mission". Al Arabiya. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Sigrid Kaag to Lead Syria Chemical Weapons Mission". Time World. 16 October 2013. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  12. ^ a b "Wat we tot nu toe weten van Sigrid Kaag, Nederlandse leider VN-missie in Syrië" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  13. ^ a b c Toby Sterling (March 17, 2021), Pro-Europe Dutch politician Kaag set to make election gains Reuters.
  14. ^ French environment minister candidate for top UN aid job Radio France Internationale, 24 March 2017.
  15. ^ Kieskamp, Marno de Boer en Wilma (26 December 2017). "Sigrid Kaag was VN-gezant in Libanon, maar koos voor de Nederlandse politiek: "Het is bijna als een amputatie"". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  16. ^ WHO and World Bank Group Join Forces to Strengthen Global Health Security World Bank, press release of May 24, 2018.
  17. ^ World Economic Forum 2019 Annual Meeting launching a new Humanitarian Investing Initiative World Economic Forum, press release of January 18, 2019.
  18. ^ "Sigrid Kaag poised to take reigns at D66; Party leader to step aside". NL Times. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  19. ^ "Minister Kaag loopt zich warm in de coulissen om nieuwe leider D66 te worden". Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Kaag sprak op het goede moment". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Sigrid Kaag kandidaat-lijsttrekker D66: 'Ik wil premier worden'". NOS (in Dutch). 21 June 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ Bolwijn, Marjon (28 May 2020). "Minister Ollongren geen kandidaat lijsttrekkerschap D66". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  23. ^ "Rob Jetten gaat niet voor lijsttrekkerschap D66: "Kaag is betere kandidaat"". 23 June 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  24. ^ "Sigrid Kaag elected D66 leader with 96 percent". 🗞️ CCeit News. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  25. ^ "Sigrid Kaag met 96 procent gekozen tot D66-leider" (in Dutch). NOS. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  26. ^ "Shula Rijxman en NPO grijpen niet in bij uitzenddatum documentaire Sigrid Kaag". (in Dutch). Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  27. ^ "Ophef rond documentaire over Kaag: wat is er gebeurd en hoe nu verder?". NU (in Dutch). 1 July 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  28. ^ "Sigrid Kaag over ingrijpen omstreden documentaire: "Niet op mijn verzoek"". RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). 30 June 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  29. ^ "Kaag geeft toe: toch zelf commentaar geleverd op omstreden documentaire". RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). 30 June 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
  30. ^ "Commissariaat voor de Media: Geen onderzoek naar Kaag-documentaire". NU (in Dutch). 13 July 2021. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  31. ^ Julen, Jeannine (17 March 2021). "Sigrid Kaag leidt D66 naar historische overwinning". Trouw (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  32. ^ "Winnaars VVD en D66 aan zet bij formatie, forse verliezen op links". (in Dutch). Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Prognose: VVD met 35 de grootste, Kaag knalt naar tweede plaats". 18 March 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  34. ^ "S.A.M. (Sigrid) Kaag MA, MPhil". (in Dutch). Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  35. ^ Hendrickx, Frank (6 September 2021). "Kaag uit felle kritiek op Rutte en politieke cultuur van "regelen en ritselen"". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  36. ^ Eline Schaart (April 2, 2021), Rutte censured after surviving no-confidence vote Politico Europe.
  37. ^ "Tijdelijke vervanging minister van EZK en benoeming staatssecretaris van EZK". 25 May 2021. Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  38. ^ Zaken, Ministerie van Algemene (26 October 2017). "Kabinet-Rutte III (2017-2021) - Regering -". (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  39. ^ "D66'er Tom de Bruijn nieuwe minister voor Buitenlandse Handel". NRC (in Dutch). Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  40. ^ "Kaag stapt op als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken na aannemen motie van afkeuring". (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  41. ^ Zaken, Ministerie van Algemene (17 September 2021). "Ontslag minister van Buitenlandse Zaken - Nieuwsbericht - Het Koninklijk Huis". (in Dutch). Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  42. ^ "New Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence sworn in". 24 September 2021. Retrieved 8 September 2022.
  43. ^ "Honorary graduates 2014-15 – Ms Sigrid Kaag (LLD)". University of Exeter. Retrieved 23 June 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  44. ^ "Belangrijke vredesprijs voor Nederlandse VN-diplomate Sigrid Kaag" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  45. ^ Board of Governors European Investment Bank (EIB).
  46. ^ AfDB Annual Report 2017 African Development Bank (AfDB).
  47. ^ Board of Governors Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  48. ^ Board of Governors Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  49. ^ Board of Governors European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  50. ^ Board of Governors Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC).
  51. ^ Members Joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee.
  52. ^ Board of Governors Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Bank Group.
  53. ^ Board of Governors World Bank.
  54. ^ Governing Board OECD/UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB).
  55. ^ Board of Directors P4G – Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030.
  56. ^ World leaders unite under new initiative to provide quality education and training for young people Generation Unlimited, press release of 21 September 2018.
  57. ^ Members International Gender Champions (IGC).
  58. ^ Commissioners Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC).
  59. ^ Scarlett Haddad (9 March 2015). "La Journée de la femme chez Sigrid Kaag : pousser les Libanaises vers la politique". L'Orient le Jour. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  60. ^ Holland's new deputy foreign minister called Netanyahu a racist demagogue
  61. ^ Yoon, Sangwon (16 May 2014). "Sigrid Kaag: Woman who's 'more man than any man'". Gulf News.
  62. ^ Sjoukje Dijkstra (17 July 2020). "Catholic politician in the Netherlands seeks leadership of left-wing party". Katholiek Nieuwsblad. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs

Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Preceded by Minister of Finance
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Democrats 66