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Ed van Thijn
Burgemeester Van Thijn tijdens een rede, Bestanddeelnr 932-7227.jpg
Van Thijn wearing the mayoral collar in 1983
Member of the Senate
In office
8 June 1999 – 12 June 2007
Parliamentary group Labour Party
Mayor of Amsterdam
In office
16 June 1983 – 18 January 1994
Preceded by Enneüs Heerma (Ad interim)
Succeeded by Frank de Grave (Acting)
Minister of the Interior
In office
18 January 1994 – 27 May 1994
Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers
Preceded by Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Ad interim)
Succeeded by Dieuwke de Graaff-Nauta
In office
11 September 1981 – 29 May 1982
Prime Minister Dries van Agt
Preceded by Hans Wiegel
Succeeded by Max Rood
Parliamentary leader in the
House of Representatives
In office
8 September 1977 – 16 January 1978
Preceded by Joop den Uyl
Succeeded by Joop den Uyl
In office
11 May 1973 – 8 June 1977
Preceded by Joop den Uyl
Succeeded by Joop den Uyl
Parliamentary group Labour Party
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
16 September 1982 – 16 June 1983
In office
23 February 1967 – 11 September 1981
Parliamentary group Labour Party
Personal details
Eduard van Thijn

(1934-08-16)16 August 1934
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died 19 December 2021(2021-12-19) (aged 87)
Political party Labour Party (from 1954)
First wife
(m. 1964; div. 1972)

Eveline Herfkens
(m. 1983; div. 1990)

Odette Taminiau
(m. 1992)
Domestic partner Hedy d'Ancona (1973–1979)
Children Carla van Thijn (born 1965)
Marion van Thijn (born 1968)
Residences Amsterdam, Netherlands
Alma mater University of Amsterdam
(Bachelor of Social Science, Master of Social Science)
Occupation Politician · Historian · Sociologist · Researcher · Corporate director · Nonprofit director · Management consultant · Political pundit · Editor · Author · Professor

Eduard van Thijn (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈeːdywɑrt ˈɛt fɑn ˈtɛin]; 16 August 1934 – 19 December 2021) was a Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA) and historian. He was a member of the Municipal Council of Amsterdam (1962–1971), member of the House of Representatives (1967–1981; 1982–1983), Minister of the Interior (1981–1982; 1994), Mayor of Amsterdam (1983–1994), and member of the Senate (1999–2007).

Van Thijn was also a prolific author, having written more than a dozen books since 1977 about politics, the history of the Jews during World War II, the history of socialism and several autobiographies. He was known for his abilities as a manager and policy wonk. He continued to comment on political affairs until his retirement in 2017 and holds the distinction as the longest-serving Mayor of Amsterdam after World War II with 10 years.

Early life

Van Thijn was born on 16 August 1934 in Amsterdam to Jewish parents who in 1943 were held in the Westerbork transit camp.

Van Thijn attended the Amsterdams Lyceum from September 1945 until June 1952 and applied at the University of Amsterdam in June 1952 majoring in Sociology and obtained a Bachelor of Social Science degree in June 1954 before graduating with a Master of Social Science degree in July 1958. Van Thijn worked as researcher at the Wiardi Beckman Foundation from August 1958 until February 1967.


Municipal council

Van Thijn served on the Municipal Council of Amsterdam from May 1962 until September 1971.

House of Representatives

Van Thijn was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1967, taking office on 23 February 1967. After the election of 1972 the Leader of the Labour Party and Parliamentary leader of the Labour Party in the House of Representatives Joop den Uyl became Prime Minister in the Cabinet Den Uyl and van Thijn was selected as his successor as Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives on 11 May 1973. After the election of 1977 Den Uyl returned as Parliamentary leader on 8 June 1977 but he was still serving in the cabinet and because of dualism customs in the constitutional convention of Dutch politics he couldn't serve a dual mandate. He subsequently resigned as a Member of the House of Representatives and Parliamentary leader on 8 September 1977 and van Thijn again took over as Parliamentary leader on 8 September 1977. Following the cabinet formation of 1977 the Cabinet Den Uyl was replaced by the Cabinet Van Agt–Wiegel on 19 December 1977 and Den Uyl subsequently returned as a Member of the House of Representatives and as Parliamentary leader on 16 January 1978.

Minister of the Interior

After the election of 1981 van Thijn was appointed Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Van Agt II, taking office on 11 September 1981. The Cabinet Van Agt II fell just seven months into its term on 12 May 1982 and continued to serve in a demissionary capacity until it was replaced by the caretaker Cabinet Van Agt III on 29 May 1982.

House of Representatives

After the election of 1982 van Thijn returned as a Member of the House of Representatives, taking office on 16 September 1982. In May 1983 van Thijn was nominated as the next Mayor of Amsterdam, he resigned as a Member of the House of Representatives the same day he was installed as Mayor, taking office on 16 June 1983.

Mayor of Amsterdam

On 16 June 1983, van Thijn became Mayor of Amsterdam, serving until resignation on 18 January 1994.

On 4 October 1992, while van Thijn was Amsterdam Mayor, El Al Flight 1862 crashed into the Groeneveen and Klein-Kruitberg flats in the Bijlmermeer (colloquially "Bijlmer") neighbourhood (part of the Amsterdam-Zuidoost district). Hundreds of people were left homeless by the crash; the city's municipal buses were used to transport survivors to emergency shelters. Firefighters and police also were forced to deal with reports of looting in the area.

Minister of the Interior

Van Thijn was appointed again as Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Lubbers III following the death of Ien Dales, taking office on 18 January 1994. On 27 May 1994, van Thijn and Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin resigned following the conclusions of a parliamentary inquiry report into illegal interrogation techniques used by the police.

Semi-retirement from politics

Van Thijn semi-retired from active politics and became active in the private sector and public sector and occupied numerous seats as a corporate director and nonprofit director on several boards of directors and supervisory boards (Anne Frank Foundation, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, Institute for Multiparty Democracy, Wiardi Beckman Foundation, and the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences) and served as a distinguished professor of Sociology, Governmental Studies, and the History of socialism at the University of Amsterdam from 1 December 1995 until 1 December 2003.


Van Thijn was elected as a Member of the Senate after the Senate election of 1999, taking office on 8 June 1999 serving as a frontbencher chairing several parliamentary committees. In February 2007 van Thijn announced his retirement from national politics and that he wouldn't stand for the Senate election of 2007 and continued to serve until the end of the parliamentary term on 12 June 2007.

Personal life

Van Thijn had two ex-wives and a domestic partner. In 1992, van Thijn married Odette Taminiau. Van Thijn's children are Carla van Thijn (born 1965) and Marion van Thijn (born 1968). Although not raised religiously observant, in later years he aligned himself with Progressive Judaism.

He died on 19 December 2021, at the age of 87.


Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
NLD Order of the Dutch Lion - Knight BAR.png Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 3 April 1979
Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg Commander of the Legion of Honour France 12 February 1982
BEL Order of Leopold II - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold II Belgium 15 May 1988
Order of Orange-Nassau ribbon - Grand Officer.svg Grand Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 8 October 1994 Elevated from Commander
(9 September 1982)
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