Joop den Uyl

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Joop den Uyl

In office
1973 – 1977
Deputy Dries van Agt and Wilhelm de Gaay-Fortman
Preceded by Barend Biesheuvel
Succeeded by Dries van Agt

Born August 9 1919
Hilversum, the Netherlands
Died December 24 1987
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Political party Partij van de Arbeid
Spouse Liesbeth Den Uyl

Dr. Johannes Marten "Joop" den Uyl (August 9, 1919 - December 24, 1987) was a Dutch politician, prime minister of the Netherlands from 1973 until 1977, as a member of the social-democratic PvdA party.

He was seen as an idealistic, but also polarizing politician. Den Uyl was one of the more controversial Dutch politicians. One either loved him or hated him. Followers of his idealistic policies called him 'Ome Joop' (uncle Joe). He was criticized for creating a budget deficit (although this continued under future cabinets) and polarizing Dutch politics. He is seen as the figure head of the 'maakbare samenleving' (the makeable society, the idea that government action can transform society).

[edit] Career

Den Uyl was born in a reformed family. His father, Johannes den Uyl, was a basketweaver who died when Den Uyl was only 10. Den Uyl attended the Christian Lyceum in Hilversum form 1931 to 1936. Following this, he studied Economics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1942 he attained the doctorandus degree. Until 1945 he was a civil servant at the National Buro for Prices of Chemical Products of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. During that period he was involved in the illegal Parool-groep, which published a resistance newspaper. After the Second World War he worked for Het Parool en Vrij Nederland, and other resistance papers. From January 1949 to 1963 he was head of the Wiardi Beckman Stichting, the scientific buro of the Dutch Labour Party.

In 1953 Den Uyl was elected to the city council of Amsterdam and in 1956 he was elected into Parliament. In 1963 he became alderman for economic affairs in Amsterdam, resigning his parliamentary seat. He resigned that post in 1965 to become minister of economic affairs in the Cabinet Cals. The cabinet fell in 1966. During his ministry he decided to close the coalmines of Limburg, which lead to great unemployment. Following the parliament elections of 1967, he became leader of the PvdA in parliament.

Den Uyl's PvdA won the 1973 elections in alliance with the progressive liberal D'66 and radical Christian PPR, but failed to achieve a majority in parliament. He entered a cabinet with the Christian-democratic KVP and ARP after long negotiations. The cabinet was seen as a fighting cabinet. The biggest problem his cabinet faced was the 1973 oil boycott following the Dutch support of Israel in the Yom Kippur war. Den Uyl said in a speech on national television that "things would never return to the way they were" and implemented a carless Sunday and rationing of oil.

In 1977 the cabinet fell due to a conflict between Den Uyl and the KVP minister of Justice van Agt. The PvdA entered the elections with the motto "Vote for the Prime Minister". The elections were overshadowed by a train-hijacking by Moluccan freedom fighters in De Punt. The PvdA won by a landslide (it got over 33% percent of the votes) and 53 seats. But it was a pyrrhic victory: One of Den Uyl's allies, the radical Christians nearly lost all their seats. But D'66, the progressive liberals also won from 6 to 8 seats. The CDA, a new party that was formed by Den Uyl's former coalition-members KVP and ARP (joined by the smaller CHU) formed a cabinet with liberal VVD after 208 days of negotiations with the PvdA. Thanks to a small majority of 77 seats, in 1977 it was possible to form a CDA-VVD cabinet.

After being opposition leader from 1977 to 1981, Den Uyl returned to government in 1981. The PvdA formed a coalition with CDA and D'66. Den Uyl became vice-minister president and minister for Social Affairs and Employment. Van Agt, a political enemy of Den Uyl's, lead this cabinet. The cabinet was in constant conflict and fell after eight months. The elections of 1982 were won by the VVD. The PvdA won little, the CDA lost little and D'66 lost most of their seats. Den Uyl returned to parliament and lead the PvdA until 1986. He left politics after the elections of 1986, which he won. He was succeeded as leader of the PvdA by Wim Kok. He died in 1987, aged 68 from a brain tumor.

Den Uyl was married to Liesbeth Den Uyl. They had 3 sons and 4 daughters. Of those Saskia Noorman-den Uyl became a member of parliament for the PvdA and Zander Den Uyl be came a leading figure in ABVAKABO, one of the Dutch Labour unions.

[edit] Quotes

"Twee dingen:..." ("Two things:...")

Prime Ministers of the Netherlands Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Kappeyne van de Coppello | Van Lynden van Sandenburg | Heemskerk Azn. | Mackay | Van Tienhoven | Roëll | Pierson | Kuyper | De Meester | Heemskerk | Cort van der Linden | Ruijs de Beerenbrouck | Colijn | De Geer | Gerbrandy | Schermerhorn | Beel | Drees | De Quay | Marijnen | Cals | Zijlstra | De Jong | Biesheuvel | Den Uyl | Van Agt | Lubbers | Kok | Balkenende
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Joop den Uyl

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