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Dries van Agt

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Dries van Agt Famous memorial

Original Name
Andreas Antonius Maria van Agt
Birth
Geldrop, Geldrop-Mierlo Municipality, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Death
5 Feb 2024 (aged 93)
Nijmegen, Nijmegen Municipality, Gelderland, Netherlands
Burial
Heilig Landstichting, Berg en Dal Municipality, Gelderland, Netherlands Add to Map
Memorial ID
View Source

Prime Minister of the Netherlands. He studied Law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen from 1949 to 1955. After obtaining his Master of Laws degree, Van Agt had a short stint as a lawyer in Eindhoven. In 1957, he started working as a Civil Servant for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, switching to the Ministry of Justice in 1963. His career took another turn in 1968, when Van Agt was appointed as Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. As a professor, he advocated for a humane criminal justice system, as well as asking for attention toward the social aspects of crime. Van Agt simultaneously worked as a judge at the district court of Arnhem from 1970 to 1971. Politically, Van Agt was a member of the Catholic People's Party (KVP) and was actively involved in drafting the party's election program, as well as serving as the chairman of the party's scientific bureau. After the General Election of 1971, Van Agt was appointed Minister of Justice in Cabinet-Biesheuvel I. His political inexperience led to a minor scandal, as in justifying his more lenient position on clemency for three German war criminals, he referred to himself as an Aryan as opposed to his Jewish predecessor. When the decision to grant the three leniency was finally taken a year later, public outcry was so intense that Van Agt had to go into hiding. After a parliamentary debate, a majority supported reversal of the clemency decision. It was expected that Van Agt would resign from his post, but he instead remained, gradually regaining his political authority. Van Agt retained his position as Minister of Justice in both the rump cabinet Biesheuvel II and Cabinet-Den Uyl, even serving as Deputy Prime Minister in the latter cabinet. During this time, Van Agt was again at the center of political turmoil. He clashed with coalition partner PvdA on his attempts to close abortion clinics, which significantly worsened the relations between the two parties. Tensions escalated further after the failed arrest of war criminal Pieter Menten, with the PvdA all but submitting a motion of no confidence in Van Agt. The Den Uyl Cabinet fell in 1977 because of a conflict over land ownership, partly due to actions taken by Van Agt. For the 1977 General Election, the KVP would run on a united list with CHU and ARP, awaiting their 1980 merger into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), with Van Agt serving as the new party's lijsttrekker. Despite a clear election victory for PvdA, they were unable to form a government, and after one of history's longest government formations, Van Agt was able to form a government together with VVD. As such, Van Agt served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands in Cabinet-Van Agt I. The Cabinet had to deal with economic challenges and high unemployment, exacerbated by the 1979 oil crisis. The austerity plans made by the government were strict but ultimately materialized into very little. Despite a critical CDA fraction, the Cabinet-Van Agt I was able to serve the full period until 1981. However, the 1981 General Election saw CDA and VVD lose their minority, forcing another collaboration between CDA and PvdA. The tensions between the two parties had only increased over the past four years, and Van Agt's second term as Prime Minister in Cabinet-Van Agt II was characterised by conflicts between the two parties. The Cabinet fell in 1982. Van Agt then served a few months as Prime Minister in rump cabinet Van Agt III, preparing for new elections. Van Agt also took on the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the rump cabinet. He again served as CDA's lijsttrekker in the 1982 General Election but withdrew as a candidate for prime minister shortly after the election on the grounds of being too worn out. He was succeeded by Ruud Lubbers. He remained active as a Member of Parliament until his 1983 appointment as Queen's Commissioner of Noord-Brabant. He did not serve the full term, instead choosing a diplomatic career as Ambassador of the European Union, first to Japan and then to the USA, retiring in 1995. After his retirement, following a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Van Agt became a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause. He was one of the initiators of the foundation of The Rights Forum, a Dutch human rights organization advocating for the rights of Palestinians. Van Agt became increasingly disillusioned with CDA due to its Israel policies, opting to vote for GroenLinks instead during the 2017 General Election, even going as far as canceling his party membership in 2021. In 2019, Van Agt suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. While he managed to recover, he had been struggling with fragile health since. In 2024, Van Agt and his wife opted for dual euthanasia, passing away hand-in-hand.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands. He studied Law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen from 1949 to 1955. After obtaining his Master of Laws degree, Van Agt had a short stint as a lawyer in Eindhoven. In 1957, he started working as a Civil Servant for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, switching to the Ministry of Justice in 1963. His career took another turn in 1968, when Van Agt was appointed as Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. As a professor, he advocated for a humane criminal justice system, as well as asking for attention toward the social aspects of crime. Van Agt simultaneously worked as a judge at the district court of Arnhem from 1970 to 1971. Politically, Van Agt was a member of the Catholic People's Party (KVP) and was actively involved in drafting the party's election program, as well as serving as the chairman of the party's scientific bureau. After the General Election of 1971, Van Agt was appointed Minister of Justice in Cabinet-Biesheuvel I. His political inexperience led to a minor scandal, as in justifying his more lenient position on clemency for three German war criminals, he referred to himself as an Aryan as opposed to his Jewish predecessor. When the decision to grant the three leniency was finally taken a year later, public outcry was so intense that Van Agt had to go into hiding. After a parliamentary debate, a majority supported reversal of the clemency decision. It was expected that Van Agt would resign from his post, but he instead remained, gradually regaining his political authority. Van Agt retained his position as Minister of Justice in both the rump cabinet Biesheuvel II and Cabinet-Den Uyl, even serving as Deputy Prime Minister in the latter cabinet. During this time, Van Agt was again at the center of political turmoil. He clashed with coalition partner PvdA on his attempts to close abortion clinics, which significantly worsened the relations between the two parties. Tensions escalated further after the failed arrest of war criminal Pieter Menten, with the PvdA all but submitting a motion of no confidence in Van Agt. The Den Uyl Cabinet fell in 1977 because of a conflict over land ownership, partly due to actions taken by Van Agt. For the 1977 General Election, the KVP would run on a united list with CHU and ARP, awaiting their 1980 merger into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), with Van Agt serving as the new party's lijsttrekker. Despite a clear election victory for PvdA, they were unable to form a government, and after one of history's longest government formations, Van Agt was able to form a government together with VVD. As such, Van Agt served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands in Cabinet-Van Agt I. The Cabinet had to deal with economic challenges and high unemployment, exacerbated by the 1979 oil crisis. The austerity plans made by the government were strict but ultimately materialized into very little. Despite a critical CDA fraction, the Cabinet-Van Agt I was able to serve the full period until 1981. However, the 1981 General Election saw CDA and VVD lose their minority, forcing another collaboration between CDA and PvdA. The tensions between the two parties had only increased over the past four years, and Van Agt's second term as Prime Minister in Cabinet-Van Agt II was characterised by conflicts between the two parties. The Cabinet fell in 1982. Van Agt then served a few months as Prime Minister in rump cabinet Van Agt III, preparing for new elections. Van Agt also took on the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the rump cabinet. He again served as CDA's lijsttrekker in the 1982 General Election but withdrew as a candidate for prime minister shortly after the election on the grounds of being too worn out. He was succeeded by Ruud Lubbers. He remained active as a Member of Parliament until his 1983 appointment as Queen's Commissioner of Noord-Brabant. He did not serve the full term, instead choosing a diplomatic career as Ambassador of the European Union, first to Japan and then to the USA, retiring in 1995. After his retirement, following a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Van Agt became a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause. He was one of the initiators of the foundation of The Rights Forum, a Dutch human rights organization advocating for the rights of Palestinians. Van Agt became increasingly disillusioned with CDA due to its Israel policies, opting to vote for GroenLinks instead during the 2017 General Election, even going as far as canceling his party membership in 2021. In 2019, Van Agt suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. While he managed to recover, he had been struggling with fragile health since. In 2024, Van Agt and his wife opted for dual euthanasia, passing away hand-in-hand.

Bio by: Kevin2000vm



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kevin2000vm
  • Added: Feb 9, 2024
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/263787728/dries-van_agt: accessed ), memorial page for Dries van Agt (2 Feb 1931–5 Feb 2024), Find a Grave Memorial ID 263787728, citing Heilig Landstichting Burial Park, Heilig Landstichting, Berg en Dal Municipality, Gelderland, Netherlands; Maintained by Find a Grave.