February 18, 2019

The new Dutch Cabinet: profiles of Ministers and State Secretaries. Part II.

By Anton Lutter.

The new Dutch cabinet has been formed by the VVD, CDA, D’66 and CU political parties under the slogan “Trust in the future”, with Mr. Mark Rutte as third time Netherlands’ Prime Minister. In part I and now part II, we introduced to the readers the new 24 Ministers and State Secretaries.

Continuing our profiles of Ministers and State secretaries start with the former State Secretary of Finance in Rutte II Mr. Eric Wiebes (VVD). Mr. Wiebes will serve as Minister of Economics and the Environment. Born in Delft 1963 he earned a degree in engineering from Delft University of Technology and a MBA from ENSEAD. Employed at said ministry lastly as Deputy-Secretary-General he left the civil service to serve as Deputy-Mayor in Amsterdam in 2010. In 2014 he became State Secretary after the resignation of his predecessor. Mr. Wiebes was earlier employed at Royal Dutch Shell and Mckinsey.

His state secretary is Mrs. Mona Keijzer (CDA) married with 5 children and born in 1968 at Edam. She will be concerned with the portfolio of Small Business, Competition, Retail, and Consumer Policy, Digital and Postal Affairs and Telecommunication. Keijzer served as a member of parliament from 2012 until her appointment and from 2007-2012 as Deputy-Mayor of Purmerend. Mrs. Keijzer studied juridical public administration at the University of Amsterdam.

Both the Minister and State Secretary of Defence are women. The King’s commissioner at Overijssel Province and former Mayor of Hof van Twente, is the second woman as Minister of this important ministry. Mrs. Ank Bijleveld (CDA) is 55, after her study public administration at the University of Twente she was a municipal policy adviser but quickly entered parliament in 1989 at which body she served until 2001 becoming a Mayor. Serving in this position slightly more than 6 six years she was appointed State Secretary of the Interior and Kingdom Relations until 2010 again entering parliament. After almost seven months she returned to her province of birth as King’s Commissioner.

She’s married having two daughters. Handling the portfolio of Personnel Affairs and Equipment Policy at Defence as State Secretary is Mrs. Barbara Visser (VVD) the sole person in this overview not having been born in The Netherlands. Her cradle: Šibenik in Croatia. She studied finance at the University of Amsterdam and started her career at the Ministry of Finance, later serving as Deputy-Mayor of Zaandam and subsequently in 2012 until 2017 as a member of parliament.

Former Chairman of political party D’66 Mrs. Ingrid van Engelshoven is the new Minister of Education, Culture, and Science. Born in 1966 she studied political science at Radboud University Nijmegen and law at Leiden University. Employed both in the private and public sector she became a Deputy-Mayor for Education of The Hague in 2010 and again in 2014. She resigned in March 2017 after being elected to parliament. She’s known to be an advocate for more women in politics and promotor of empowerment and emancipation, according to her a must because women’s misery derives from financial dependency”.

Minister without portfolio at the same department is Mr. Arie Slob (CU) who will deal with the portfolio of Primary Education, Secondary Education, and Media. Mr. Slob 56 years is married having four children, studied history at the University of Groningen. He started his political career as a City Councillor in Zwolle from 1993 to 2001. He then entered parliament which he served until 2015. A short while director of Historical Center of Zwolle he’s now back in The Hague again.

The new Minister of Infrastructure, Public Works and Water Management Mrs. Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (VVD) is the sole minister in Rutte III who has served in the European Parliament in Brussels. As a matter of fact, she served in all the electoral bodies at the different geographical levels, with the exception of the water district. First as City Councillor of Oisterwijk 1994-2006, then as a member of the provincial parliament (Provinciale Staten) of Noord-Brabant from 2003 until 2007 including the executive board (Gedeputeerde Staten) 2007-2010, subsequently as a member of parliament 2010-2014 and lastly the EP until her appointment as Minister. Mrs. Van Nieuwenhuizen studied social geography at Utrecht University. Born in 1963 she’s married having four children.

State secretary is Mrs. Stientje van Veldhoven (D’66) a member of parliament since 2010 and earlier a civil servant at the Ministry of Economics and European Commission after serving as the First Secretary at the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Brussels. Mrs. van Veldhoven who is 44 years of age, studied policy and management in international organizations at the University of Groningen.

Mr. Wouter Koolmees (D’66) born in 1977 is the new minister of Social Affairs and Employment. Before he was elected to parliament in 2010 he was employed as head of budget policy of the Directorate-General of State Budget at the Ministry of Finance. He studied economics at Utrecht University. State Secretary at said ministry is Mrs. Tamara van Ark (VVD), born in 1974 she will be responsible for the portfolio of unemployment insurances, equality, long-term unemployment, Poverty and Youth Policy. As Mr. Koolmees she was elected to parliament in 2010. Earlier she has been employed both in the private and public sector before appointed as Deputy-Mayor in Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel and its successor Zuidplas. She has earned her masters degree in public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Former The Hague Deputy-Mayor Mr. Bruno Bruins (VVD) is the minister without portfolio of Medical Care at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. 54 years of age he studied law and public administration at the University of Groningen. Before his appointment, he was the chairman of the executive board of UWV and earlier, amongst others, Deputy-Mayor of Traffic 2002-2006, State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science from 2006 until 2007, Interim Mayor of Leidschendam-Voorburg and Managing-Director of the public transport company Connexxion.

State Secretary at this ministry is Mr. Paul Blokhuis (CU). His portfolio consists of Mental Healthcare, War victims and Wellness promotion. Born in 1963 Mr. Blokhuis studied history at Leiden University. In 2003 he was elected to the provincial parliament of Gelderland. In 2006 he served as Deputy-Mayor of Apeldoorn until his appointment as State Secretary. He’s married having four daughters. The last member of the government to be mentioned is Mr. Raymond Knops (CDA). He serves in the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations as State secretary concerned with Kingdom Relations, which deals with Dutch Caribbean islands. 45 years of age Mr. Knops studied at the Royal Military Academy in Breda and subsequently public administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Until his appointment, he was a member of parliament since 2005 and previously Deputy-Mayor of Horst aan de Maas from 1999 until 2005. He’s Married having two children. Mr.Knops is sole professional military in the government.

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