Mark Rutte

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His Excellency
Mark Rutte
Mark Rutte-6.jpg
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Assumed office
14 October 2010
Monarch Beatrix
Preceded by Jan Peter Balkenende
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Assumed office
31 May 2006
Preceded by Jozias van Aartsen
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy in the House of Representatives
Assumed office
23 March 2017
Preceded by Halbe Zijlstra
In office
20 September 2012 – 1 November 2012
Preceded by Stef Blok
Succeeded by Halbe Zijlstra
In office
29 June 2006 – 8 October 2010
Preceded by Willibrord van Beek
Succeeded by Stef Blok
Undersecretary for Education, Culture and Science
In office
17 June 2004 – 27 June 2006
Serving with Medy van der Laan
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Annette Nijs
Succeeded by Bruno Bruins
Undersecretary for Social Affairs and Employment
In office
22 July 2002 – 17 June 2004
Serving with
Philomena Bijlhout (2002)
Khee Liang Phoa (2002–2003)
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende
Preceded by Hans Hoogervorst
Annelies Verstand
Succeeded by Henk van Hoof
Member of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
23 March 2017
In office
20 September 2012 – 5 November 2012
In office
28 June 2006 – 14 October 2010
In office
30 January 2003 – 27 May 2003
Personal details
Born (1967-02-14) 14 February 1967 (age 50)
The Hague, Netherlands
Political party People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Residence The Hague, Netherlands
Alma mater Leiden University
Website Government website

Mark Rutte (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɑrk ˈrɵtə]; born 14 February 1967) is a Dutch politician who has been the Prime Minister of the Netherlands since 14 October 2010, and the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie – VVD) since 31 May 2006.

Rutte previously served as Undersecretary for Social Affairs and Employment from 22 July 2002 to 17 June 2004, and as Undersecretary for Education, Culture and Science from 17 June 2004 until 27 June 2006, when he was elected to succeed Jozias van Aartsen as the new VVD leader.[1][2]

At the 2006 general election, the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, already under Rutte, lost six seats, and he became the opposition leader. At the following general election in 2010, the VVD won the highest number of votes cast, resulting in them occupying 31 of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

After a long formation period, Rutte became Prime Minister and formed a Cabinet. When Rutte was sworn in on 14 October 2010, he became the first liberal Prime Minister of the Netherlands in 92 years.[3] Rutte offered his government's resignation on 23 April 2012, after an impasse in talks on an austerity budget, prompting a general election in which the VVD won its highest number of seats ever, which led to a coalition being formed between the VVD and the Labour Party. On 5 November 2012, the Second Rutte cabinet was installed by Queen Beatrix.

Early life

Mark Rutte was born on 14 February 1967 in The Hague, in the Dutch province of South Holland,[4] in a Dutch Reformed family as the youngest child of Izaäk Rutte (5 October 1909 – 22 April 1988), a merchant, and Hermina Cornelia Dilling (born 13 November 1923), a secretary. Izaäk Rutte worked for a trading company; first as an importer in the Dutch East Indies, later as a director in the Netherlands.[citation needed]

Rutte attended a gymnasium high school from 1979 until 1985, specialising in the arts. Although Rutte's original ambition was to attend a conservatory and become a concert pianist,[5] he went to study history at Leiden University instead, where he obtained a MA degree in 1992.[6] Rutte combined his studies with a position on the board of the Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy, the youth organisation of the VVD, of which he was the chair from 1988 to 1991.[7]

After his studies, Rutte entered the business world, working as a manager for Unilever and Calvé. Until 1997, Rutte was part of the human resource department of Unilever, and played a leading role in several reorganisations. Between 1997 and 2000, Rutte was staff manager for Van den Bergh Nederland, a subsidiary of Unilever's. In 2000, Rutte became a member of the Corporate Human Resources Group, and in 2002, he became human resource manager for IgloMora Groep, another subsidiary of Unilever's.[8]

Between 1993 and 1997, Rutte was a member of the national board of the VVD. Rutte also served as a member of the VVD candidate committee for the general election of 2002. Rutte was elected as Member of Parliament in 2003.

Political offices

Rutte as Undersecretary in 2006

Rutte served as Undersecretary in the Social Affairs and Employment ministry from 22 July 2002 to 17 June 2004 in the first and second Balkenende cabinets. Rutte was responsible for fields including bijstand (municipal welfare) and arbeidsomstandigheden (Occupational safety and health). After the 2003 elections Rutte was briefly also a member of the House of Representatives, from 30 January to 27 May 2003.

Rutte served as Undersecretary for Higher Education and Science, within the Education, Culture and Science ministry, replacing Annette Nijs, from 17 June 2004 to 27 June 2006, in the second Balkenende cabinet. In office, Rutte showed particular interest in making the Dutch higher education system more competitive internationally, by trying to make it more market oriented (improving the position of students as consumers in the market for education). Rutte would have been succeeded by former The Hague alderman Bruno Bruins. Before Bruins could be sworn into office, the second Balkenende cabinet fell. In the subsequently formed third Balkenende cabinet Bruins succeeded Rutte as Undersecretary.

Rutte resigned as Undersecretary in June 2006 to return to the House of Representatives, and he soon became the Parliamentary leader of the VVD. Rutte became an important figure within the VVD leadership. Rutte was campaign manager for the 2006 municipal elections.

2006 leadership election

After the resignation of Jozias van Aartsen, the VVD having lost in the 2006 Dutch municipal election, the party held an internal election for front-runner, in which Rutte competed against Rita Verdonk and Jelleke Veenendaal. On 31 May 2006, it was announced that Mark Rutte would be the next front-runner of the VVD. He was elected by 51.5% of party members. Rutte's candidacy was backed by the VVD leadership, including the party board, and many prominent politicians such as Frank de Grave, former minister of Defence, Ivo Opstelten, the mayor of Rotterdam and Ed Nijpels, the Queen's Commissioner of Friesland. The Youth Organisation Freedom and Democracy, the VVD's youth wing, of which he had been chair, also backed him. During the elections he promised "to make the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy a party for everyone and not just of the elite". His youthful appearance has been likened to the successful former leader of the Labour Party, Wouter Bos.

Rutte said that the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party was a group that "the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy could do business with".[9] He had also stated that with the social security ideas of the Labour Party, which he called too socialist, it was unlikely that the VVD would cooperate or form a coalition after the elections.[citation needed]

2006 Dutch general election

Rutte with Henk Kamp (left) and Rita Verdonk (right) during the campaign in 2006

For the 2006 general election, the VVD campaign with Rutte as leader did not get off to a good start. Rutte received criticism from within his own party for the campaign.[10] Rutte was said to be overshadowed by his own party members Rita Verdonk and Gerrit Zalm, as well as being unable to penetrate between Wouter Bos and Jan Peter Balkenende, who were generally seen as the prime candidates to become the next Prime Minister. On 27 November, it became known that Rita Verdonk managed to obtain more votes than Mark Rutte; Rutte obtained 553,200 votes against Verdonk's 620,555.[10][11]

After repeated criticisms by Rita Verdonk on VVD policy, Rutte expelled her from the party's parliamentary faction on 14 September 2007.[12]

2010 Dutch general election

Mark Rutte at the inauguration of his Cabinet on 14 October 2010

In the 2010 general election, Rutte was once again the front-runner for the VVD. The VVD won 31 seats to become the largest party in the House of Representatives for the first time ever.[13] A long period of negotiations followed, with several personalities succeeding each other as informateur, or persons being appointed by Queen Beatrix in order to find out what coalition could be formed.

Efforts to form a coalition of liberals, Christian-democrats and socialists failed. Instead the only possibility appeared to be a center-right coalition of liberals and Christian democrats (CDA), with the outside support of the Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Geert Wilders.

Prime Minister

Mark Rutte on his first day as Prime Minister of the Netherlands on 14 October 2010
Rutte with British Prime Minister David Cameron on 21 February 2014

After garnering support for such a coalition, Rutte was appointed as formateur (prime minister-designate) on 8 October 2010. Rutte then appointed the ministers, with Maxime Verhagen (CDA) as his deputy prime minister. On 14 October, Beatrix formally invited Rutte to form a government. Later that day, Rutte presented his Cabinet team to Parliament, and it was confirmed in office by the smallest possible majority.

Rutte is the first Prime Minister since 1918 who is neither a Christian democrat nor a socialist, as well as the first liberal to hold that post since Pieter Cort van der Linden, who was Prime Minister from 1913 until 1918.[13] He is also the first VVD Prime Minister, and the second-youngest Prime Minister of the Netherlands ever, after Ruud Lubbers.

In March 2012, seeking to comply with European Union requirements for the nation's deficit, Rutte began talks with coalition parties VVD and CDA and supporting party PVV on a budget for 2013, which would cut 16 billion Euros of spending. However, PVV leader Geert Wilders withdrew his party's support on 21 April, stating that the budget would hurt economic growth;[14] which led to the downfall of the government. Rutte submitted his resignation to Queen Beatrix on the afternoon of 23 April.[15] His government lasted for 558 days, making it one of the shortest Netherlands cabinets since World War II.[14] New elections were held on 12 September 2012 which his party won.

In April 2016, Rutte was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim to the High-Level Panel on Water. Co-chaired by President of Mauritius Ameenah Gurib and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, the joint United Nations-World Bank Group panel was set up to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6).[16]

2012 Dutch general election

In the 2012 general election, Rutte was the VVD's front-runner for the third time. The party won 41 seats and remained the largest party in the House of Representatives.[17] On 5 November 2012, the Second Rutte cabinet was formed, a coalition cabinet with the Labour Party (PvdA).

2017 Dutch general election


Personal life

Rutte is single.[4][18] He is a member of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.[citation needed] Rutte still teaches two hours a week at a secondary school, the Johan de Witt College in The Hague.[6] Rutte is known to be a big fan of the writing of Robert Caro and the urban planning work of Robert Moses in New York City[19]


  1. ^ "Mark Rutte teruggekeerd in Tweede Kamer" (in Dutch). 28 June 2006. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "Government". 14 December 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mark Rutte: eerste liberale premier sinds 1918" (in Dutch). 7 October 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b (Dutch) Drs. M. (Mark) Rutte, Parlement & Politiek. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Rutte had pianoleraar kunnen zijn". De Pers. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "CV | Mark Rutte". Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Mark Rutte" (in Dutch). VVD. 
  8. ^ "Biografie – Mark Rutte". Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "CDA calls for longer working week". 18 August 2006. 
  10. ^ a b (Dutch) "Onvrede binnen VVD over Rutte," Algemeen Dagblad (31 October 2006). Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Tension mounts as VVD waits for Verdonk's reaction to voters' support". 28 November 2006. 
  12. ^ (Dutch) Oranje, Joost and Guus Valk, "Kamp: VVD moet Rutte nu steunen," NRC Handelsblad (15 September 2007). Retrieved 14 May 2014. Literal English translation: "Verdonk was yesterday by Mark Rutte formally expelled from the VVD's parliamentary party in the House of Representatives after she had again voiced criticism of the party in the press." Dutch original: "Verdonk werd gisteren formeel door Mark Rutte uit de Tweede Kamerfractie van de VVD gezet, nadat zij in de pers opnieuw kritiek had geuit op de fractie."
  13. ^ a b "Election 2010 – The Netherlands shifts to the right". NRC Handelsblad. 10 June 2010. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Dutch government falls in budget crisis". BBC News. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Gilbert Kreijger and Thomas Escritt (23 April 2012). "Dutch Prime Minister resigns in budget cuts row". Reuters. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  16. ^ United Nations Secretary-General, World Bank Group President Appoint High-Level Panel on Water United Nations, press release of 21 April 2016.
  17. ^ "Volg de verkiezingen 2014 live". De Volkskrant. 
  18. ^ "Ten things you didn't know about prime minister Mark Rutte". Dutch News. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Dutch Prime Minister Is a Big Fan of Robert Caro". New York Times. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 

External links

  • Mark Rutte, official government profile
Political offices
Preceded by
Hans Hoogervorst
Undersecretary for Social Affairs and Employment
Succeeded by
Henk van Hoof
Preceded by
Annette Nijs
Undersecretary for Higher Education and Science
Succeeded by
Bruno Bruins
Preceded by
Jan Peter Balkenende
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Minister of General Affairs
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jozias van Aartsen
Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
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