Connect with us


Three new ministries and four deputy PMs in the new government –



The new Dutch government will have four deputy prime ministers, one from each coalition party, who will replace prime minister Dick Schoof at press conferences and cabinet meetings when he is unavailable.

By tradition, the four deputy prime ministers each require their own ministry, hence the decision to set up three new departments to accommodate them. All four deputy prime ministers are currently MPs.

Update: June 13, 22.00 – Gidi Gidi Markuszower’s candidacy was withdrawn by PVV leader Geert Wilders after he failed a security check.

The PVV’s reported choice is Gidi Markuszower, 46 and an MP since 2017, who has been tipped as the first minister for refugees and immigration – a new government department. He had to withdraw as a PVV candidate for parliament in 2010 after it emerged he had been flagged up by the intelligence service as a “risk to the integrity of the Netherlands”.

Interior minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin warned Wilders in a letter that the AIVD suspected Markuszower of passing information to a “foreign power” – thought to be Israel, where he was born.

Markuszower has described the outgoing government’s immigration policy as “a massive crime against the Dutch people” and said the politicians responsible should be placed before a tribunal. He has also said Ukrainian refugees are happy to come to the Netherlands because here “they don’t pay rent, or for water, gas and electricity”. His appointment has not yet been confirmed.


Mona Keijzer before her sacking as junior economic affairs minister.  Photo: Rijksoverheid

Housing minister Mona Keijzer, 55, is the BBB’s choice for deputy prime minister and she too will be given her own ministry, given that housing used to fall under home affairs.

Keijzer, 55, was junior economic affairs minister from 2017 to 2021 on behalf of the Christian Democrats but was sacked by Mark Rutte for publicly criticising the cabinet’s coronavirus policy.

After failing to win the leadership of the CDA, she appeared to bow out of politics, only to re-emerge as the right-hand woman of BBB founder Caroline van der Plas during the election campaign.

Since the election, she has come under fire for telling a talk show that “the hatred of Jews is almost part of Islamic culture”, a comment she has refused to withdraw.


Sophie Hermans during the formation talks. Photo: Laurens van Putten ANP

The third deputy prime minister to get her own department is the VVD’s Sophie Hermans, 43, who was party leader Dilan Yesilgöz right-hand woman during the cabinet negotiations and along-term advisor to Mark Rutte.

She will head the newly created climate and green growth ministry, which will likely be put together with chunks of the current economic affairs department.

It is worth noting that she has now agreed to join a cabinet put together by Wilders, who has called her Rutte’s “bag carrier” on several occasions. Hermans is the oldest daughter of former VVD minister and party stalwart Loek Hermans.

Eddy van Hijum speaking during a debate. Photo: Bart Maat ANP

Eddy van Hijum, 52, is the fourth of the deputy prime ministers and will take charge of the social affairs and employment ministry, the only one of the four to take over an existing role.

Van Hijum became an MP in 2003 on behalf of the CDA but left in 2015 and became a provincial governor in Overijssel. His experience in the provinces led him to become increasingly critical of national government’s ignorance of regional problems. Van Hijum, who was elected to parliament for the NSC in November, was also Peter Omtzigt’s right-hand man during the cabinet negotiations.

More jobs?

The Volkskrant points out that three new ministries do not necessarily mean hundreds more civil servants will be appointed, and that the jobs can be done from within the confines of the existing set-up.

However, the paper said, it does cost time and energy and the changes introduced by the previous administration – the introduction of a separate agriculture ministry – cost almost €32 million. Simply changing the name of the Security and Justice ministry to Justice and Security cost €2 million, the paper said.

The new government also plans to slash civil service numbers by 22%.

Update: June 13, 22.00 – Gidi Gidi Markuszower’s candidacy was withdrawn by PVV leader Geert Wilders after he failed a security check.

Continue Reading