The Netherlands

Dutch royals pay tribute to former Prime Minister Wim Kok

Former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok has died at the age of 80. He had been ill with a heart condition for quite some time.

Wim Kok was Prime Minister from 1994 until 2002 under then Queen Beatrix. Before becoming Prime Minister, Wim Kok was a trade union leader, leader of the opposition and Minister of Finance. He became chairman of the Labour Party, succeeding Joop den Uyl. During his years as Prime Minister, the economy and employment grew. His cabinets were responsible for implementing several social reforms, legalising same-sex marriage and euthanasia. He ended his second cabinet in 2002 after taking responsibility over the report by the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies regarding the fall of Srebrenica, which had taken places seven years earlier. He withdrew from politics and worked for ING and Shell. Shortly after leaving politics, he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State.

King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Beatrix released a shared statement after hearing the news of his death.

“With the greatest respect, we remember Wim Kok. During many years, he was conscientiously committed to our country. As a trade union leader, he belonged to the group which laid the foundation under our Poldermodel. As Minister of Finance and Prime Minister, he instilled confidence in his integrity and had the talent to make complex problems manageable. Social compassion was the keynote in his life. The Netherlands owes him a lot of gratitude. On this sad day, our thoughts go out to his wife and his family.”

Wim Kok married Margrietha “Rita” Roukema in 1965 after four years of dating. He adopted her two children from her previous marriage, daughter Carla and son André. They had one son named Marcel together. He is survived by his wife and children.