Dries van Agt

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Andreas Antonius Maria "Dries" van Agt (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdris fɑn ˈɑxt]; born February 2, 1931) is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party. He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from December 19, 1977, until November 4, 1982.



Early life

Andreas Antonius Maria van Agt was born on February 2, 1931, in Geldrop in the Dutch province of North Brabant. After receiving his diploma Gymnasium-A at the Augustinianum he studied at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, where he received his Doctorate in Law in 1955. After graduating, he practiced law in Eindhoven until 1957, after which he worked in the office of legal and business affairs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries until 1962. From 1962 to 1968, he worked for the Ministry of Justice.


Van Agt entered politics as a member of the Catholic People's Party, which merged with the other two major Christian Democratic parties in 1980 to form the CDA. From 1968 to 1971, Van Agt was Professor of Criminal Law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. From 1971 to 1973, he was Minister of Justice in the government of Barend Biesheuvel. He caused outrage when he tried to pardon the last three Nazi war criminals still in Dutch prisons in 1972. From 1973 to 1977 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice in the government of Joop den Uyl.

From December 1977 to November 1982, Dries van Agt was Prime Minister of the Netherlands in three successive governments. After the resignation of his government, he remained a member of the Dutch Parliament until 1983, when he was appointed as the Queen's Commissioner of the province North Brabant.

Dries van Agt served as Ambassador of the European Community to Japan from 1987 to 1989 and to the United States from 1989 to 1995. From 1995 to 1996, he was a Visiting Professor of International Relations at the University of Kyoto.

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