Lousewies van der Laan
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Louse Wies Sija Anne Lilly Berthe (Lousewies) van der Laan (Rotterdam, February 18, 1966) is a former Dutch politician and the leader of the parliamentary group of the social liberal Democrats 66 (D66) in the Lower House for six months in 2006. She was a Member of the European Parliament between 1999 and 2003 in the ELDR group.
 Life before poltics
She finished high school at the German School in Washington, DC. She obtained an international baccalaureate at Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (In Montezuma, New Mexico). After graduating in 1984, Van der Laan moved to the Netherlands to study law at the University of Leiden. She specialized in International and European Law and graduated in 1990. Between 1990 and 1991 she studied international relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University at Bologna. After an internship at Greenpeace in Brussels, she became an intern at the cabinet of Dutch European Commissioner Frans Andriessen.<ref>Parliamentary Documentation Centre, Biography of L.W.S.A.L.B. van der Laan (in dutch)</ref>
Between 1991 and 1994 she worked for TACIS of the European Commission, where she was responsible for environmental projects. In 1995 she worked as an environmental specialist for the EBRD in London. Between 1995 and 1997 she worked for the Cabinet of Dutch European Commissioner for External Relations, Hans van den Broek. In 1997 she became his spokesperson.<ref>Parliamentary Documentation Centre, Biography of L.W.S.A.L.B. van der Laan (in dutch)</ref>
 Political life
In 1999 she became head of the D66 list for the European Elections. She became chairwoman of the parliamentary party and member of the parliamentary party board of the ELDR. In the European Parliament she was active on a range of issue focusing on civil liberties, environmental affairs, budget and foreign affairs. In the European Parliament she was vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Budget Control between 1999 and 2002, vice-chairwoman of the Committee on Liberties and Civil Rights, Justice and Home Affairs between 2002 and 2003. She was member of the Committee on the Rights of the Woman and Equal Chances between 1999 and 2003, the delegation for relations with the Palestinian Authority between 1999 and 2002. Between 1999 and 2002 she was a substitute for the Committee on Environmental Protection, Public Health and Consumers' Policy and a substitute for the delegation for relations with Slovakia. Between 2002 and 2003 she was a substitute for the Budget Committee. She founded the Intergroup on Food Safety, the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform.<ref>Parliamentary Documentation Centre, Biography of L.W.S.A.L.B. van der Laan (in dutch)</ref>
In 2003 she switched to the Dutch Parliament. She was the spokeswoman of her party on foreign affairs, higher education, justice, technology, European affairs and gay rights. She was the vice-chairwoman of the parliamentary party and the chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on technology policy and vice-chairwoman of the committee on European affairs. In 2004, she and her husband, Dennis Hesseling<ref>NRC Handelsblad newspaper(Zaterdags Bijvoegsel) Hollands Dagboek
"Lousewies van der Laan (39) is Tweede-Kamerlid voor D66. Samen met haar man Dennis Hesseling heeft ze een zoon van 1, Helix."/"Lousewies van der Laan (39) is member of the parliament for D66. Together with her husband Dennis Hesseling, she has a son of one years old, called Helix" (Retrieved February 2006) available online on the website of D66 </ref>, a mathmatician<ref>Bus, Evelien Drs. Dennis Hesseling:Wiskunde alleen was te saai geweest/Dennis Hesseling: Only mathematics would have been too boring on the "Kennislink" website (21 July 2004) , financed by the Dutch government
"Dennis Hesseling studeerde wiskunde in Utrecht en Kopenhagen van 1988 tot 1994."/"Dennis Hesseling studied mathematics in Utrecht and Copenhagen from 1988 until 1994."(Retrieved Feb. 2006)</ref>, got a a son, called Helix.<ref>Dohmen, Jean and Sandra Donker, Interview with Lousewies van der Laan: God is gekaapt/God has been hijacked in the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad
"Mijn zoon is nu acht maanden, hij heet Helix. [..] De dubbele helix is de structuur van het menselijk DNA. "/"My son is now 8 months old. His name is Helix [..]The double helix is the structure of the human DNA"  (Retrieved Feb. 2006) </ref> Van der Laan, who speak English and Dutch fluently, is raising her son bilangually.
She assumed the parliamentary leadership of D66 in the Lower House on February 3 2006, succeeding Boris Dittrich. Dittrich stepped down after making tactical and political errors in the debate on sending Dutch troops to the Afghan province of Uruzgan.<ref>Parliamentary Documentation Centre, Biography of L.W.S.A.L.B. van der Laan (in dutch)</ref>
Van der Laan played a significant role in the downfall of the Second Balkenende cabinet by supporting a motion of no confidence against Minister Rita Verdonk regarding Verdonk's behavior in the matter of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's citizenship. On August 4, 2006, she announced that she will retire from Dutch parliament after the 2006 elections.<ref>Parliamentary Documentation Centre, Biography of L.W.S.A.L.B. van der Laan (in dutch)</ref>