Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck

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Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck, Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Jhr. Charles Joseph Maria Ruijs de Beerenbrouck (December 1, 1873 - April 17, 1936) was Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1918 to 1925 and again from 1929 to 1933. He was a member of the Roman Catholic RKSP.

[edit] Early life

Charles Joseph Maria Ruijs de Beerenbrouck was born on December 1, 1873 in Roermond, a town with a Bishop's see in the province of Limburg, in the very south of The Netherlands. Born into an aristocratic family, he grew up in a predominantly Roman Catholic community and went to school in Maastricht and in The Hague. He attended the Utrecht University and in 1895 Ruijs de Beerenbrouck obtained his master's degree in law at the Leiden University.

[edit] Career

He started his career in 1896 as a lawyer in Maastricht. In 1899 Ruijs de Beerenbrouck became a member of the Maastricht City council and in 1905 he was elected as a member of parliament (in Dutch called the Tweede Kamer). Ruijs de Beerenbrouck remained a city councillor and a member of parliament until May 16, 1918, when he became Governor (in other Dutch Provinces called a Queen's Commissioner) of the provincie of Limburg.

Ruijs de Beerenbrouck did not stay in office as Governor for long, as on September 9, 1918 he was appointed as Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

As Prime Minister he had to deal with the aftermath of World War I. Although The Netherlands remained neutral during the conflict, Ruijs de Beerenbrouck nevertheless was facing several problems, especially the return of German troops through the province of Limburg and the exile of the German emperor Wilhelm II.

In November 1918 the leader of the Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij (SDAP) (Social-Democratic Labour Party), Pieter Jelles Troelstra, inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the German Revolution of 1918 called for a socialist revolution among the working class. Fortunately for Ruijs de Beerenbrouck, the revolution attempt of Troelstra met with little enthusiasm. However, in order to satisfy the working class, he enacted several social reforms.

From 1925 to 1929 Ruijs de Beerenbrouck was chairman of the Tweede Kamer.

During his third cabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck had to deal with the worldwide Great Depression of 1929 and the early 1930s, which had crippling effects on the Dutch economy, effects which lasted longer than they did in most European countries. The depression lead to large unemployment and poverty, as well as increasing social unrest. Ruijs de Beerenbrouck was forced to cut down government expenses and to devaluate the national currency, the Guilder, but these measures only worsened the effects of the economic crisis.

In February 1933 the third cabinet Ruijs de Beerenbrouck ordered the bombing of the navy cruiser "De Zeven Provinciën", when sailors aboard the cruiser mutinied because of the cutting of their wages.

In 1933 Ruijs de Beerenbrouck again became chairman of the Tweede Kamer. He remained chairman of the Tweede Kamer until his death.

Ruijs de Beerenbrouck died on April 17, 1936 in Utrecht.

Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg
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Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck

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