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Wim Duisenberg: Wikis


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Wim Duisenberg

In office
1 July 1998 – 30 October 2003
Preceded by First
Succeeded by Jean-Claude Trichet

In office
1 July 1997 – 1 July 1998
Preceded by Alexandre Lamfalussy
Succeeded by None

In office
1 January 1982 – 1 July 1997
Preceded by Jelle Zijlstra
Succeeded by Nout Wellink

In office
16 January 1978 – 28 June 1978

In office
11 May 1973 – 19 December 1977
Prime Minister Joop den Uyl
Preceded by Roelof Nelissen
Succeeded by Frans Andriessen

Born 9 July 1935(1935-07-09)
Heerenveen, Netherlands
Died 31 July 2005 (aged 70)
Faucon, Vaucluse, France
Birth name Willem Frederik Duisenberg
Nationality Dutch
Political party PvdA
Spouse(s) Tine Stelling (divorced)
Gretta Duisenberg
(born 1942)
Alma mater University of Groningen (PhD)
University of Amsterdam (Dr.h.c.)
Occupation Politician
Religion Atheism

Willem Frederik "Wim" Duisenberg (9 July 1935 - 31 July 2005) was a Dutch politician of the Dutch Labour Party who was the first President of the European Central Bank from 1 July 1998 until 30 October 2003. He was instrumental in the Introduction of the euro in the European Union in 2002. He was also credited for making numeral improvements for the Economy of the Netherlands. A successful economist and financier he served as Minister of Finance from 11 May 1973 until 19 December 1977, he later served as President of the Central Bank of the Netherlands.




Early life

Duisenberg was born in the Frisian town of Heerenveen. He studied economics at the University of Groningen, majoring in international economic relations. In 1965, he obtained a PhD; his thesis was "The Economic Consequences of the Disarmament".


Duisenberg subsequently worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C. for years followed by a year as an advisor to the director of the Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch central bank in Amsterdam. He was then appointed a professor at the University of Amsterdam where he taught macroeconomics.

From 1973 to 1977, Duisenberg was Minister of Finance under Prime Minister Joop den Uyl, Shortly afterwards, he gave up his seat in the Dutch parliament to become vice president of Rabobank, a Dutch bank. Two years later, he was appointed director of the Nederlandsche Bank, serving as its president from 1982 to 1997.

His tenure at the Dutch central bank was marked by caution and reserve. Under his direction, the Dutch guilder was linked to the German Deutsche Mark, and this benefited the Dutch economy, owing to the strength of the German currency. He also followed German central bank's interest rate policies closely, which earned him the nickname "Mr Fifteen Minutes" because he quickly followed any interest rate changes made by the Germans.

Wim Duisenberg and Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa in 2000

First president of the European Central Bank

Owing to the success of his monetary policy, he became well-known in other European countries, and this led to his appointment in 1998 as the first president of the new European Central Bank in Frankfurt, much to the chagrin of France, who wanted a French candidate. A compromise was agreed upon (although publicly denied by all parties) whereby Duisenberg would serve for at least four years, upon which the Frenchman Jean-Claude Trichet, director of the Banque de France, would take over. In 1999, Duisenberg received the Vision for Europe Award in recognition of his efforts toward the unification of Europe.

Duisenberg announced he would retire on 9 July 2003 (his 68th birthday), but he remained in office until Trichet was cleared of charges of fraud in connection with the collapse of the French bank Crédit Lyonnais. Trichet took over presidency of the ECB on 1 November 2003.


Duisenberg died in 2005 at the age of 70 while on vacation at his villa in Faucon near Orange, France. He drowned in his swimming pool after suffering a heart attack, a condition which may well also have been caused by his chain smoking.

A commemoration service was held on 6 August 2005 in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Duisenberg was buried later that day in the Zorgvlied cemetery in Amsterdam.


He was also a member of Vindicat student society.


  • "Central Bankers are like cream. The more you whip them, the stiffer they get."
  • "I hear you, but I do not listen." A response to politicians who loudly pledged for lowering interest rates to boost economy.


Wim Duisenberg's grave in Zorgvlied cemetery in Amsterdam

External links


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