News - October 30, 2012

Wageningen 'delivers' another minister

Prospective minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem will mean another Wageningen-educated minister in the Dutch government.

Dijsselboem studied agricultural economics from 1985-91. He is one of the three so-called Red Science Grads who rule the roost within the PvdA (centre left party) at the moment. The other two are the party leader Diederik Samsom (Delft University of Technology) and Martijn van Dam (Eindhoven University of Technology).
Wageningen does not have a great tradition of 'delivering' ministers, but those it has provided include some prominent names. Dijsselbloem's predecessors are Gerrit Braks (CDA [Christian, centre right], Agriculture 1980-81, Education 1989, Agriculture 1989-90) and Joris Voorhoeve (VVD [centre right], Defence 1994-98). Since WWII we have also had Henk Vredeling (PvdA, Defence 1973-77), Anne Vondeling (PvdA, Agriculture 1958, Defence 1965-66) and Kees Staf (CHU [forerunner of CDA], Defence 1951-58). Cees Veerman (CDA, Agriculture 2002-07) did do his PhD in Wageningen and was chairman of the Executive Board before Aalt Dijkhuizen, but his first degree was in economics at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
Wageningen man
But Dijsselbloem (Eindhoven, 1966) has more right than any of his predecessors to be called a Wageningen man. He was a member of the Wageningen town council from 1994 to 1997. With the exception of five years in Delft, he has lived here at various addresses since his student days. He likes to see a film in the Heerenstraattheater, his favourite pub is Loburg and he is on the board of the Junushoff.
Dijsselbloem's appointment gives Wageningen (and Wageningen UR) a prominent new ambassador. 'I'm always prepared to help Wageningen. You don't lose those ties,' he said in 2008 in an interview with Wageningen Update. An amusing detail in this context: the list of gifts received as a member of Parliament includes a camera worth 75 euros. 'Received from Wageningen UR for participating in a study. Kept for personal use. 03-11-2011.'
Surprisingly, in this interview Dijsselbloem also announced he would be leaving politics. That was in 2008. He felt he had spent long enough in Parliament.