Camille Huysmans

Jean Joseph Camille Huysmans (born as Camiel Hansen 26 May 1871 – 25 February 1968)[1][2] was a Belgian politician who served as Prime Minister of Belgium from 1946 to 1947.

Camille Huysmans
Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
3 August 1946 – 20 March 1947
MonarchLeopold III
RegentPrince Charles
Preceded byAchille Van Acker
Succeeded byPaul-Henri Spaak
President of the Chamber of Representatives
In office
27 April 1954 – 11 November 1958
Preceded byFrans Van Cauwelaert
Succeeded byPaul Kronacker
In office
23 June 1936 – 21 April 1939
Preceded byJules Poncelet
Succeeded byFrans Van Cauwelaert
Personal details
Born(1871-05-26)26 May 1871
Bilzen, Belgium
Died25 February 1968(1968-02-25) (aged 96)
Antwerp, Belgium
Political partySocialist Party
Alma materUniversity of Liège

He studied German philology at the University of Liège and was a teacher from 1893 to 1897 while he studied for his doctorate in German philology.

Huysmans joined the Belgische Werkliedenpartij (BWP), the predecessor of the Belgische Socialistische Partij (BSP) at a young age. He became a journalist for many socialist periodicals until 1904 and was thereafter active in the labour unions.

Between 1905 and 1922 Huysmans was secretary of the Second International. In that function he had many contacts with Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the first Chinese revolution, in 1911. His main task was creating an active peace function. At the Socialist Conference in Stockholm in 1917 he pleaded against continuing the war.

He was a fighter for the Flemish movement and fought for using Dutch at the University of Ghent. As Minister of Arts and Education he could pave the way for the Dutch language. In 1911 he proposed a bill, drafted by Lodewijk De Raet, together with the Roman Catholic Frans Van Cauwelaert and the liberal Louis Franck for the usage of Dutch at the University of Ghent. However, due to World War I, the University of Ghent would become a Flemish university only in 1930.

In World War II he fled to London. He regained the function as secretary between 1939 and 1944, also as acting chairman. After World War II (at age 75) he became the 34th Prime Minister and led a government of socialists, liberals and communists. With an insufficient majority, this government lasted not long. In the next government, he was Minister of Education.

In domestic affairs, a raft of progressive reforms were carried out during Huysmans's time as 34th Prime Minister. A Ministerial Order of October 1946 laid down special provisions for safeguarding workers in wire rope factories,[3] while an Order was passed in December 1946 for factories manufacturing sugar and molasses alcohol which contained health and safety provisions.[4] In January 1947, legislation was passed providing for a uniform allowance for the children of disabled workers,[5] and legislative Orders were issued in January and February 1947 providing for the establishment of a National Office for the Co-ordination of Family Allowances.[6] In addition, a legislative Order of 28 February 1947 supplemented and amended the provisions of an August 1930 law by extending the scope of family allowances for wage-earners,[7] while another Order issued that same month authorised the National Association for Cheap Housing to raise a loan of one thousand million Belgian francs to contribute towards the costs of a housebuilding programme for miners.[8]

He remained very popular until old age. The national tribute for his 80th birthday attracted 100,000 visitors. At the age of 83 he became chairman of the Chamber of Representatives (lower house). He was a freemason, a member of the lodge Les Amis Philanthropes of the Grand Orient of Belgium in Brussels[citation needed].

Huysmans is considered a friend of the Jewish people, mainly due to his friendly attitude towards Jewish immigrants in Antwerp in the years 1920–1940 and the Zionist movement[citation needed]. Some streets and neighbourhoods in Israel bear his name[citation needed].

Camille Huysmans 1947


  • councillor in Brussels (1908–1921)
  • education Schepen of Antwerp (1921–1933)
  • mayor of Antwerp (1933–1940 and 1944–1946)
  • councillor in Antwerp (1946–1968)
  • member of the lower house (1910–1965)
  • chairman of the lower house (1936–1939 and 1954–1958)
  • Minister of Arts and Education (1925–1927)
  • Prime Minister (1946–1947)
  • Minister of Education (1947–1949)


Correspondence with LeninEdit

In his first term as secretary of the Second International he corresponded with Lenin between 1905 and 1914. The letters were published in 1963.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 February 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Profile of Camille Huysmans
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ International Labour Organisation. Chemical Industries Committee (1950). Reports. International Labour Office. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Decree supplementing and amending the text of the Law of 4 August 1930 about generalisation of family allowances for the benefit of salaried workers". Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  6. ^ United Nations. Dept. of Social Affairs (1948). Report on Family, Child and Youth Welfare. [1946]-1951-52. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  7. ^ United Nations. Dept. of Social Affairs (1949). Annual Report on Child and Youth Welfare. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "HUYSMANS". Retrieved 6 March 2017.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Antwerp
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Chamber of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Mayor of Antwerp
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Belgium
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Chamber of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Oldest living state leader
11 July 1967 – 24 May 1968
Succeeded by