Willem Schermerhorn

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His Excellency
Wim Schermerhorn
Schermerhorn, W. - SFA008007277.jpg
28th Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
24 June 1945 – 3 July 1946
DeputyWillem Drees
Preceded byPieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Succeeded byLouis Beel
Personal details
BornWillem Schermerhorn
(1894-12-17)December 17, 1894
Akersloot, Netherlands
DiedMarch 10, 1977(1977-03-10) (aged 82)
Haarlem, Netherlands
Political partyFree-thinking Democratic League
Labour Party
Spouse(s)Barbara Rook
Alma materDelft University of Technology

Willem "Wim" Schermerhorn (17 December 1894 – 10 March 1977) was a Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1945 until 1946. He was the first Prime Minister after World War II.[1] According to Harry W. Laidler, the government under Schermerhorn's premiership "achieved important results in the fields of labor, finance, housing, old age pensions, and the social services."[2]


Early life[edit]

Willem Schermerhorn was born on 17 December 1894 in Akersloot in the Dutch Province of North Holland. He grew up in a Protestant family of farmers. He became professor at the Delft University of Technology on 7 September 1926. Schermerhorn remained professor until 1944, when he was removed by the German occupational forces because of his activities in the Dutch resistance. He was interned by the German occupational forces as a hostage in Sint-Michielsgestel from May 1942 until December 1943. After he was removed as professor in 1944 Schermerhorn went into hiding to avoid being taken prisoner by the German occupational forces.


On 24 June 1945 he became Prime Minister of the cabinet Schermerhorn/Drees, the first cabinet after World War II. Schermerhorn was the first Dutch Prime Minister who appointed civil servants with a political background, people like Koos Vorrink and Hendrik Brugmans (nicknamed 'The Schermerboys"). After the elections of 1946 he became a member of parliament, as a member of the social-democratic Labour Party. He remained a member of parliament until 1951. After his parliamentarian career ended he became director of the International Training Center for Aerial Survey in 1951 (until 1969). In 1956 he became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[3]

Personal life[edit]

On 9 April 1919, Schermerhorn married Barbara Rook (13 June 1897 – 7 January 1986).[4] Wim Schermerhorn died on 10 March 1977 in Haarlem he was 82.

His brother, Dirk Schermerhorn [nl], was an engineer in the Soviet Union (he was involved in the construction of the Moscow Subway). He was killed during the Stalinist purges in 1937. His sister, Neeltje, was married to theologian Johannes Marie de Jonge, principal of the Theological Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church in Driebergen (1960–1968).



  1. ^ (in Dutch) Ir. W. (Willem) Schermerhorn
  2. ^ Harry W. Laidler (4 July 2013). History of Socialism: An Historical Comparative Study of Socialism, Communism, Utopia. Routledge. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-1-136-23150-6.
  3. ^ "W. Schermerhorn (1894–1977)". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  4. ^ https://www.genealogieonline.nl/stamboom-willems-hoogeloon-best/I125537.php

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Louis Beel