Ivo Opstelten

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Ivo Opstelten
Ivo Opstelten 2011.jpg
Ivo Opstelten in 2011
Minister of Security and Justice
In office
14 October 2010 – 10 March 2015
Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Preceded by Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Succeeded by Stef Blok
Chairmen of the People's Party
for Freedom and Democracy
In office
23 May 2008 – 14 October 2010
Leader Mark Rutte
Preceded by Jan van Zanen
Succeeded by Benk Korthals
Acting Mayor of Tilburg
In office
4 November 2009 – 16 July 2010
Preceded by Ruud Vreeman
Succeeded by Peter Noordanus
Mayor of Rotterdam
In office
16 February 1999 – 1 January 2009
Preceded by Bram Peper
Succeeded by Ahmed Aboutaleb
Mayor of Utrecht
In office
1 November 1992 – 16 February 1999
Preceded by Lien Vos-van Gortel
Succeeded by Annie Brouwer-Korf
Acting Mayor of Beerta
In office
1 December 1983 – 1 March 1984
Preceded by Hanneke Jagersma
Succeeded by Hanneke Jagersma
Mayor of Delfzijl
In office
1 December 1980 – 1 September 1987
Preceded by Paul Scholten
Succeeded by Ed Haaksman
Mayor of Doorn
In office
1 October 1977 – 1 December 1980
Preceded by Anton van Harinxma thoe Slooten
Succeeded by Henk Goudsmit
Mayor of Dalen
In office
26 August 1972 – 1 October 1977
Preceded by Frits Fontein
Succeeded by Joost Hoffscholte
Personal details
Born Ivo Willem Opstelten
(1944-01-31) 31 January 1944 (age 74)
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Spouse(s) Mariette Dutilh (m. 1970)
Children 4 daughters
Residence Rotterdam, Netherlands
Alma mater Leiden University
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws)
Occupation Politician
Civil servant
Nonprofit director
Television presenter

Ivo Willem Opstelten (born 31 January 1944) is a retired Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

Opstelten a civil servant by occupation, worked for the municipality of Vlaardingen from 1970 until 1972 when he was selected as Mayor of Dalen, serving from 26 August 1972 until 1 October 1977 when he became Mayor of Doorn serving until 1 December 1980 when he was nominated as Mayor of Delfzijl. He also served as Acting Mayor of Beerta from 1 December 1983 until 1 March 1984. He resigned as Mayor of Delfzijl on 1 September 1987 to become Director-General of the Department for Public Order and Security at the Ministry of Interior. On 1 November 1992 he was selected as Mayor of Utrecht, serving until 16 February 1999 when he was nominated as Mayor of Rotterdam. Opstelten was elected as Chairman of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy on 23 May 2008 and remained Mayor of Rotterdam until his retirement on 1 January 2009. He also served as Acting Mayor of Tilburg from 4 November 2009 until 16 July 2010.[1] After the Dutch general election of 2010 Opstelten was asked by to become Minister of Security and Justice in the Cabinet Rutte I under Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Opstelten accepted and resigned as Chairman of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy the day the Cabinet Rutte I was installed on 14 October 2010. Opstelten remained Minister of Security and Justice in the Cabinet Rutte II serving until 10 March 2015.

Opstelten retired from active politics at the age of seventy-one. Following the end of his active political career, Opstelten was named as an honorary member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy.


Early life

Opstelten studied law at Leiden University, where he specialised in constitutional and public law. He graduated in 1969 and worked from 1970 to 1972 at the municipality of Vlaardingen before starting a long-term career as mayor.


In 1972 Opstelten began as Mayor of Dalen, at the age of 28 the youngest Mayor of the Netherlands. In 1977 he became Mayor of Doorn. In 1980 he became the Mayor of Delfzijl. In 1983 he became Acting Mayor of Beerta for four months because of the pregnancy of Mayor Hanneke Jagersma. In 1992 he made the switch to the fourth largest Municipality of the Netherlands, Utrecht. In 1999 he was nominated as Mayor of Rotterdam, the second biggest city of the Netherlands. In 2002 he was praised for his handling of the aftermath of the assassination of politician Pim Fortuyn. He served as Mayor of Rotterdam for ten years. He resigned on January 1, 2009. He was succeeded by Ahmed Aboutaleb. On March 31, 2008, he was elected as the new Party chair of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy. On November 6, 2009, it was announced by Wim van de Donk, the Queen's Commissioner of North Brabant, that Opstelten had accepted the position as Acting Mayor of Tilburg after Mayor Ruud Vreeman's resignation was sought by the City council of Tilburg.

On August 4, 2010, Queen Beatrix nominated Opstelten as fifth informateur in the 2010 Dutch cabinet formation.[2] On September 4, the Queen replaced Opstelten with Herman Tjeenk Willink, the Vice President of the Council of State as the new informateur.[3] On September 13, 2010 he became informateur a second time[4] and on September 28 the negotiations were finished. A coalition agreement was reached between People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and Christian Democratic Appeal to form a minority coalition, supported by the Party for Freedom to obtain a majority. Formateur Mark Rutte asked Opstelten as the Minister of Security and Justice in the new cabinet. Because a Party chair can not serve in the cabinet, he resigned as a Party chair of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy on October 14, 2010, the same day he took office as the new Minister of Security and Justice.[5]

During his tenure as Minister of Security and Justice, Opstelten was the driving force behind the closure of the majority of The Netherlands' coffeeshops and growshops effectively ending the successful 1970's instituted experiment where soft drugs were tolerated and separated from the hard drugs market. Affiliated with the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party, Opstelten also imposed many restrictions on the legal and regulated prostitution business in the Netherlands also driving a portion of that business underground.[6]

In the week after his resignation from office, he was interviewed about the increased use of heavy firearms by criminals. He said that maybe in the past firerarms didn't have the attention of the authorities, but now they rose to the challenge and he was on it. In reality he had quietly disbanded the task force on heavy weapons two months earlier.[7]

Resignation from office

On March 10, 2015, Opstelten, along with State Secretary Fred Teeven resigned after it was discovered that Teeven, then chief public prosecutor authorized the return of 4.7 million guilders to convicted drugs dealer Cees H. in 2000, without the knowledge of his superior or the tax office.

Throughout 2014, questions had been asked about this drugs deal. Opstelten consistently told parliament that the deal was for 2 million guilders and that they should trust him on that. On March 4, news show Nieuwsuur uncovered evidence that it was actually 4.7 million guilders. Cees H. confirmed this and stated that he did not do the justice department any favor in return, such as testifying. During a press conference on March 9, Opstelten admitted that convicted drugs baron Cees H. had been paid 4.7 million guilders, not the two million guilders he had consistently told parliament.[8] The next day he resigned. Other politicians were disappointed that he left many questions unanswered by resigning, such as how he could not know the amount despite the deal being orchestrated by his own deputy minister and why the tax service was not involved in the deal.[9]

Preceding the affair which resulted in his resignation, Opstelten was already often accused of not knowing the facts during debates and having difficulty finding words in other cases.[10]


Ivo Opstelten is married to Mariette Dutilh (born 1945) and they have four children.


Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Officer BAR.png Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 29 April 2004


  1. ^ (in Dutch) Ivo Opstelten interim-burgemeester Tilburg Archived 2013-03-13 at the Wayback Machine., NOS, 4 November 2009
  2. ^ (in Dutch) Ivo Opstelten benoemd tot informateur Archived 2014-07-26 at the Wayback Machine., NRC, 5 August 2010
  3. ^ (in Dutch) Koningin benoemt Tjeenk Willink weer tot informateur Archived 2011-12-19 at the Wayback Machine., Elsevier, 7 September 2010
  4. ^ (in Dutch) De complete persconferentie van informateur Opstelten Archived 2012-10-17 at the Wayback Machine., NOS, 13 September 2010
  5. ^ (in Dutch) Ivo Opstelten (VVD) over zijn ministerspost Archived 2012-10-15 at the Wayback Machine., NOS, 8 October 2010
  6. ^ (in English) Dutch justice minister, deputy resign over drugs dealer cash deal, DutchNews, 9 March 2015
  7. ^ "On firearms in The Netherlands, segment on Opstelten starts around 21:10". NPO. Brandpunt. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Timeline Exit Opstelten". Nos.nl. NOS. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Parliament Understands Deal". Nos.nl. NOS. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Nieuwsuur Mar 10 (section about Opstelten not knowing the facts is at 16:00)". Nos.nl. NOS. Retrieved 11 March 2015. 

External links

  • (in Dutch) Mr. I.W. (Ivo) Opstelten Parlement & Politiek
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jan van Zanen
Chairman of the People's Party
for Freedom and Democracy

Succeeded by
Benk Korthals
Political offices
Preceded by
Frits Fontein
Mayor of Dalen
Succeeded by
Joost Hoffscholte
Preceded by
Anton van Harinxma thoe Slooten
Mayor of Doorn
Succeeded by
Henk Goudsmit
Preceded by
Paul Scholten
Mayor of Delfzijl
Succeeded by
Ed Haaksman
Preceded by
Hanneke Jagersma
Acting Mayor of Beerta
Succeeded by
Hanneke Jagersma
Preceded by
Lien Vos-van Gortel
Mayor of Utrecht
Succeeded by
Annie Brouwer-Korf
Preceded by
Bram Peper
Mayor of Rotterdam
Succeeded by
Ahmed Aboutaleb
Preceded by
Ruud Vreeman
Acting Mayor of Tilburg
Succeeded by
Peter Noordanus
Preceded by
Ernst Hirsch Ballin
Minister of Security and Justice
Succeeded by
Stef Blok
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