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His Excellency
Jozias van Aartsen
Jozias van Aartsen in 2012
Acting Mayor of Amsterdam
In office
4 December 2017 – 12 July 2018
Preceded by Eberhard van der Laan
Succeeded by Femke Halsema
Acting King's Commissioner of Drenthe
In office
19 April 2017 – 1 December 2017
Preceded by Jacques Tichelaar
Succeeded by Jetta Klijnsma
Mayor of The Hague
In office
27 March 2008 – 1 March 2017
Preceded by Wim Deetman
Succeeded by Pauline Krikke
Leader of the People's Party
for Freedom and Democracy
In office
27 November 2004 – 8 March 2006
Preceded by Gerrit Zalm
Succeeded by Mark Rutte
Parliamentary leader in the
House of Representatives
In office
27 May 2003 – 8 March 2006
Preceded by Gerrit Zalm
Succeeded by Willibrord van Beek
Parliamentary group People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
3 August 1998 – 22 July 2002
Prime Minister Wim Kok
Preceded by Hans van Mierlo
Succeeded by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
23 May 2002 – 30 November 2006
In office
19 May 1998 – 3 August 1998
Parliamentary group People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
Minister of Agriculture,
Nature and Fisheries
In office
22 August 1994 – 3 August 1998
Prime Minister Wim Kok
Preceded by Piet Bukman
Succeeded by Haijo Apotheker
Personal details
Born Jozias Johannes van Aartsen
(1947-12-25) 25 December 1947 (age 70)
The Hague, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
Henriëtte Warsen (m. 1972)
Children 3 children[2]
Residence The Hague, Netherlands
Alma mater VU University Amsterdam
(Bachelor of Laws)
Occupation Politician · Civil servant · Nonprofit director

Jozias Johannes van Aartsen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjoːzijɑs joːˈɦɑnəs fɑn ˈaːrtsə(n)];[3] born 25 December 1947) is a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Van Aartsen, a civil servant by occupation, served as the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality from 22 August 1994 until 3 August 1998 in the First Kok cabinet. He became a member of the House of Representatives for a short period serving from 19 May 1998 until 3 August 1998 following the Dutch general election of 1998. He served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 3 August 1998 until 22 July 2002 in the Second Kok cabinet and returned to the House of Representatives serving from 23 May 2002 until 30 November 2006, when the VVD Leader and parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives Gerrit Zalm became Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the Second Balkenende cabinet.

Van Aartsen became the parliamentary leader serving from 27 May 2003 until 8 March 2006. He disagreed with Zalm about his position that the party leader should not be a member of the cabinet unless that person is the Prime Minister, and that the parliamentary leader in the House should be the party leader. After months of discussions and arguing, Van Aartsen took over as VVD Leader from Zalm. After poor results in the Dutch municipal elections of 2006 he stepped down as parliamentary leader and was temporally succeeded by Willibrord van Beek, until the election of Mark Rutte as the new parliamentary leader and party leader.[4]

In August 2006 Van Aartsen announced that he would not run as a candidate for the VVD for the upcoming Dutch general election of 2006.[5] He was later nominated to succeed Wim Deetman as Mayor of The Hague and took office on 27 March 2008. He left that position on 1 March 2017 to become the Acting King's Commissioner of Drenthe after incumbent Jacques Tichelaar resigned over corruption allegations. When Jetta Klijnsma was nominated for the position, he stepped down and accepted to be the Acting Mayor of Amsterdam after the death of Mayor Eberhard van der Laan serving from 4 December 2017 to 12 July 2018.

Early life[edit]

Jozias Johannes van Aartsen was born on 25 December 1947 in The Hague, son of Jan van Aartsen, a politician of the Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP). He served as Minister of Transport and Water Management, Minister of Housing and Construction and Queen's Commissioner of Zeeland. After completing the Gymnasium-a he studied law at the VU University Amsterdam but did not graduate. At the age of 22 van Aartsen moved to The Hague to work in politics.


Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and The Hague Mayor Jozias van Aartsen, 2013
Van Aartsen standing behind U.S. President Barack Obama during his visit to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, 2014

When Hans Wiegel became party leader, in 1971, van Aartsen was asked to work for Hans Wiegel as employee of the party in the House of Representatives. In 1974 he became Director-general of the Teldersstichting, the scientific institute of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy.

In 1978 Van Aartsen became Chef de Bureau of the Secretary General of Interior. He did this under Ministers Rietkerk, Van Dijk, De Korte, De Koning, Dales and De Graaf. In 1985 he became Secretary General of Interior himself. He was Minister of Agriculture from 1994 to 1998 in the First Kok cabinet. In the Second Kok cabinet he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When the cabinet fell as a direct result of the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies report about the fall of Srebrenica, he became parliamentary leader in the lower house of the States General.

On 1 April 2004 an attempt was made to overrun Van Aartsen by a car when he and a co-worker were doing a photoshoot in front of Hotel Des Indes in The Hague. Van Aartsen was not hurt but the co-worker did sustain a shoulder injury. The assailant, a 41-year-old lawyer by the name of Frederiek de Jongh and an employee of Bureau Rechtshulp in Utrecht confessed her action was politically motivated.[6]

Van Aartsen stepped down as VVD Leader in 2006; in a letter to the newly-elected party leader Mark Rutte, he however expressed his disappointment with the demise of the Second Balkenende cabinet which in his view was uncalled for. He also warned for VVD interparty warring between a populist fraction with a no-nonsense attitude and focus on tax cuts and law and order and a liberal fraction focused on personal freedoms, rule of law, international orientation and education. Jozias van Aartsen is a member of the Bilderberg Group.

He served as Mayor of The Hague from 2008 to 2017; he then took two acting positions in Drenthe and Amsterdam.[7]


  1. ^ (in Dutch) Schoktherapeut in een mooi Haags streepjespak, NRC, 4 September 2000
  2. ^ (in Dutch) Minister Jozias van Aartsen langs de Feministische Meetlat,, 1 October 2000
  3. ^ In isolation, van is pronounced [vɑn].
  4. ^ (in Dutch) 'Tussenpaus' Van Beek gaat VVD-fractie leiden, Trouw, March 9, 2006.
  5. ^ (in Dutch) Jozias van Aartsen vertrekt na verkiezingen, Elsevier, August 21, 2006.
  6. ^ (in Dutch) Verwarde advocate reed met opzet Van Aartsen aan, Volkskrant, 4 April 2004.
  7. ^ Van Aartsen waarnemend burgemeester in Amsterdam,, 2 November 2017.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Gerrit Zalm
Parliamentary leader of the
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
in the House of Representatives

Succeeded by
Willibrord van Beek
Leader of the People's Party
for Freedom and Democracy

Succeeded by
Mark Rutte
Political offices
Preceded by
Piet Bukman
Minister of Agriculture,
Nature and Fisheries

Succeeded by
Haijo Apotheker
Preceded by
Hans van Mierlo
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
Preceded by
Wim Deetman
Mayor of The Hague
Succeeded by
Pauline Krikke
Preceded by
Jacques Tichelaar
King's Commissioner of Drenthe
Succeeded by
Jetta Klijnsma
Preceded by
Eberhard van der Laan
Mayor of Amsterdam
Succeeded by
Femke Halsema


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