Jan Peter Balkenende: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jan Peter Balkenende

Assumed office 
22 July 2002
Monarch HKH Beatrix van Oranje
Preceded by Wim Kok

In office
1 October 2001 – 11 July 2002
Preceded by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Succeeded by Maxime Verhagen

In office
19 May 1998 – 22 July 2002

Born 7 May 1956 (1956-05-07) (age 53)
Biezelinge, Netherlands
Political party Christian Democratic Appeal
Spouse(s) Bianca Hoogendijk[1]
Residence Capelle aan den IJssel, Netherlands
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit
Profession Public servant
Religion Reformed Protestantism[1]
Website Ministry of General Affairs

Jan Peter Balkenende (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɑn ˈpetər ˈbɑɫkənɛndə]  ( listen)) (born May 7, 1956) is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal party and since July 22, 2002 the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. He has led four coalition governments, none of which served a full 4-year term.


Early years

Jan Peter Balkenende, legally Jan Pieter Balkenende, was born on 7 May 1956 in the village of Biezelinge near the town Kapelle in the Netherlands. His father Jan Pieter Balkenende was a cereal grains merchant and his mother Thona Johanna Sandee was a teacher. Balkenende currently resides with his wife, Bianca Hoogendijk, and his daughter Amelie in Capelle aan den IJssel. He is renting an apartment in The Hague rather than living in the Catshuis, the formal residency of the Prime Minister. He is a devout member of the Calvinist Protestant Church in the Netherlands.


Balkenende went to a Protestant primary school in Kapelle. He attended secondary school at the "Christian Lyceum for Zeeland" in Goes, graduating in 1974.[2]

He studied at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, where he successfully received an M.A. in history in 1986, an LL.M. in Dutch Law in 1982, and finally a Ph.D. in Law in 1992.[2]

Political career

Early political career

He began his career on the staff of the research institute of the political party Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) and as a city councillor in Amstelveen. In that period he received his PhD with a thesis on "Administrative regulation and social organisations" (Overheidsregelgeving en maatschappelijke organisaties), a work strongly inspired by the Communitarian ideas of Amitai Etzioni[3]. He later became an extraordinary professor of Christian-Social Thought at the Free University of Amsterdam.

Balkenende first entered the House of Representatives on 19 May 1998 while the CDA was in opposition. He became the CDA's financial spokesman and was also involved with social affairs, justice, and domestic affairs. In this role he advocated a substational reduction of the national debt and sound public finances.

He was elected Chairman of the CDA parliamentary fraction on 1 October 2001, in succession to Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. On 3 November 2001, he was appointed lijsttrekker for the CDA in the May 2002 parliamentary elections. These elections became historic when the charismatic Pim Fortuyn was assassinated and the election campaign was halted. The result of the election restored the CDA's former position as the largest political party in the Dutch parliament.

Prime Minister

Balkenende has been Prime minister of four successive cabinets.

Balkenende I

On 4 July 2002 Queen Beatrix asked Balkenende to form a new government after the general elections following the resignation of Prime Minister Wim Kok. This cabinet is known as Balkenende I. The coalition cabinet included the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF) party, whose leader (Pim Fortuyn) was assassinated just days before the election. It collapsed after just 86 days in office because of internal conflicts within the LPF that destabilised the government.

Balkenende II

Balkenende and Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi in May 2003.

After early elections in 2003 Balkenende formed his second government with: Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), the liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the progressive liberal D66. Once again leader of a centre-right coalition, Balkenende's policies centred around reform of the Dutch public services, reducing crime, a tough immigration policy and historically large cuts in public spending. The measures gave rise to large public anger and bad results in opinion polls for his CDA party. While his party remained the largest Dutch delegation in the European Parliament after the European Elections, beating the general expectation of a huge loss in parliamentary seats, the party suffered strong losses during Dutch municipal elections of 2006, losing their position as the largest party in many municipalities. Despite his unpopularity among Dutch voters (polls in 2006 showed that only 26–33% of the voters had confidence in him as prime minister), his position as leader of the CDA remained stable. In the beginning of 2006, some CDA members tried to replace Balkenende as leader with minister Cees Veerman. Veerman did not accept this and offered his support to Balkenende. Balkenende's popularity recovered since then, surpassing that of his main competitor Wouter Bos in the autumn of 2006. By then, 53% preferred Balkenende as Prime Minister while 40% preferred Bos.[4] This switch in public opinion is sometimes explained by the steady recovery of the Dutch economy during the last year of his administration, combined with declining confidence in Bos as a good alternative for the position of prime-minister.

On 1 July 2004 he took up the rotating presidency of the European Union.

Balkenende III

Left to right: Jose Barroso, Vladimir Putin, Balkenende, and Javier Solana.
Balkenende meets then-U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C in June 2008.

On 30 June 2006 D66, the smallest coalition party, withdrew its support of the government over the way immigration minister Rita Verdonk had handled the crisis around the naturalisation of Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Balkenende resigned for the second time as Prime Minister, announced early elections and presented his third government a week later. This cabinet, formed of a minority coalition of CDA and VVD, stayed in office until the elections of 22 November 2006.

Balkenende IV

Though his old coalition partners VVD and D66 fared badly in the parliamentary elections of 2006, Balkenende managed to defend the dominant position of his CDA. Needing alternative coalition partners to form a new majority government, he formed a social-Christian coalition with the Dutch Labour Party (PVDA) and the orthodox-Protestant Christian Union. This Fourth Balkenende cabinet is the current coalition cabinet of the Netherlands, formed by Balkenende, who was appointed formateur by Queen Beatrix on 9 February 2007.[5] His cabinet was announced on 13 February and was scheduled to be in office until 2011, but it fell in the early morning of 20 February 2010 as the result of disagreement between the majority of the parliament and the coalition partners CDA and PvdA over the extension of the Dutch ISAF-mission in Afghanistan.[6] In contrast to the formation of a new caretaker cabinet with full responsibility (Balkenende III after the fall of Balkenende II), Balkenende IV continued as a demissionary cabinet, a caretaker cabinet with limited responsibility.


On 4 June 2005, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel De Gucht said in the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws (The Latest News) that "Balkenende is a mix of Harry Potter and a petty rigid bourgeois mentality". This comparison caused a small diplomatic controversy, and the Belgian ambassador had to apologise to Ben Bot, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs.[7] Retired Deputy Prime Minister Hans Wiegel commented he preferred Harry Potter to the Manneken Pis.

Balkenende has a close relationship with the Dutch people from Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. He has visited several Keti Koti celebrations in recent years.


External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Chair of the Parliamentary PartyCDA
House of Representatives

Succeeded by
Maxime Verhagen
Preceded by
Maxime Verhagen
Chair of the Parliamentary PartyCDA
House of Representatives

Chair of the Parliamentary PartyCDA
House of Representatives

Succeeded by
Pieter van Geel
Political offices
Preceded by
Wim Kok
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Minister of General Affairs

Simple English

File:Jan Peter
Prime Minister Balkenende visiting the White House

Jan Peter Balkenende ( born 7 May 1956 in Capelle aan den IJssel) is a Dutch politician. He has been the Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 2002. He is a member of the Christian CDA party.

In other countries, he is perhaps most famous because he looks like Harry Potter. This makes him popular with young children, but many Dutch make jokes about it and call him "Jan Potter Balkenende" and other names like that.

Balkenende lives in Capelle aan den IJssel.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address