Former Amsterdam mayor Ed van Thijn passes away at 87
Former Amsterdam mayor and prominent PvdA party elder Ed van Thijn passed away on Sunday at the age of 87, the municipality of Amsterdam announced at the request of his family. They said that Van Thijn had been alert until the end. "Fighting against racism was the most important reason for me to go into politics and to ultimately, become mayor of Amsterdam," Van Thijn said about his motivation.
"Van Thijn led Amsterdam through turbulent periods, from squatters' riots to the Biljmer disaster, justice and the rule of law were always his guiding principles. I deeply admire him for that," Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said after the passing of Van Thijn.
For many years, he had been a prominent director on behalf of the PvdA and Interior Minister for two periods. He also fulfilled the role of formateur, informateur and PvdA party leader in the Tweede Kamer. Van Thijn was the longest-serving mayor of the capital city after the Second World War from 1983 to 1994. Afterward, he was a member of the Eerste Kamer from 1999 to 2007.
"Amsterdam loses an anchor, the PvdA an icon and the Netherlands a politician and administrator who showed in his life and work that is always worth to stand up for another and to keep hoping for a better future," former PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher wrote in a tribute on the website of the PvdA.
After serving as mayor, Van Thijn was appointed Grand Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau and awarded the Gold Medal of the City of Amsterdam.
"Saddened by the death of Ed van Thijn," Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted. "Respect for his great commitment in various positions for his party and country. As a mayor, he led our capital through turbulent times. I wish his family and friends a lot of strength with this great loss," Rutte said.
Van Thijn was born on August 16, 1934, in Amsterdam. As a child, he survived the Westerbork internment camp. After completing his studies in Political and Social Sciences in Amsterdam, he started working at the scientific office of the PvdA, the Wiardi Beckman Foundation, in 1961.
His funeral will place in a small circle after Christmas. A condolence book will also be opened.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times