Friday, 3 April 2015 - 12:34
Fmr. PM Piet de Jong turns 100; 2nd oldest world leader
It is former Prime Minster Piet de Jong's 100th birthday today. According to NOS, De Jong is known as the most underrated prime minister in the Netherlands as appreciation for him came only long after he had left the Binnenhof. Piet de Jong led the Netherlands during the 60's, which was a turbulent time of social unrest, actions and revolution in the Netherlands. Despite criticism, his Cabinet managed to accomplish a lot, such as modernizing the legislation around divorce, making universities more democratic and introducing VAT. His coalition, consisting of the Catholic KVP, the Protestant CHU and ARP and the liberal VVD managed to survive his whole term (1967 to 1971) De Jong is also a distinguished World War II naval officer, the former Chief of Staff to Princce Bernhard and the top aide to Queen Juliana. He was even at the hospital when King Willem-Alexander was born. Piet de Jong is the second oldest living former head of government in the world. He is second to Ecuador's former president Telmo Vargas who is 102 years and 175 days old. De Jong is also the second Dutch Prime Minister to reach a century of age. Social-democrat Willem Drees preceded him and eventually became 101 years old. Prime Minster Mark Rutte congratulated De Jong on his birthday, NOS reports. "I find it extraordinary that we meet each other every year for lunch. It is relaxed, but at the same time you are still full of sharpness and you give good advice." Rutte said. According to Rutte, De Jong will always be a submarine captain. "The number of naval metaphors is really innumerable. They make you an extra special man."