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Louis Joseph Maria Beel (12 April 1902 – 11 February 1977) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and jurist who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 3 July 1946 until 7 August 1948 and from 22 December 1958 until 19 May 1959.[1]


Louis Beel
Louis Beel 1945 (1).jpg
Louis Beel in 1945
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
22 December 1958 – 19 May 1959
MonarchJuliana
DeputyTeun Struycken
Preceded byWillem Drees
Succeeded byJan de Quay
In office
3 July 1946 – 7 August 1948
MonarchWilhelmina
DeputyWillem Drees
Preceded byWillem Schermerhorn
Succeeded byWillem Drees
Vice-President of the Council of State
In office
1 August 1959 – 1 July 1972
MonarchJuliana
Preceded byBram Rutgers
Succeeded byMarinus Ruppert
Minister of Social Affairs and Health
In office
22 December 1958 – 19 May 1959
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byKo Suurhoff
Succeeded byCharles van Rooy
Member of the Council of State
In office
1 June 1959 – 1 August 1959
In office
1 April 1958 – 22 December 1958
Vice PresidentBram Rutgers
Minister of Justice
In office
4 February 1956 – 15 February 1956
Ad interim
Prime MinisterWillem Drees
Preceded byLeendert Antonie Donker
Succeeded byJulius Christiaan
van Oven
Deputy Prime Minister
In office
2 September 1952 – 7 July 1956
Prime MinisterWillem Drees
Preceded byJosef van Schaik
Succeeded byTeun Struycken
Minister of Social Work
In office
2 September 1952 – 9 September 1952
Ad interim
Prime MinisterWillem Drees
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byFrans-Jozef van Thiel
High Commissioner of
the Dutch East Indies
In office
29 October 1948 – 18 May 1949
MonarchJuliana
Preceded byHubertus van Mook
Succeeded byTony Lovink
Minister of Colonial Affairs
In office
30 August 1947 – 3 November 1947
Ad interim
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byJan Jonkman
Succeeded byJan Jonkman
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
27 July 1948 – 7 September 1948
In office
4 June 1946 – 3 July 1946
Parliamentary groupCatholic People's Party
Minister of the Interior
In office
6 December 1951 – 7 July 1956
Prime MinisterWillem Drees
Preceded byFrans Teulings (Ad interim)
Succeeded byJulius Christiaan
van Oven
(Ad interim)
In office
23 February 1945 – 15 September 1947
Prime Minister
Preceded byHendrik van Boeijen
(Ad interim)
Succeeded byPiet Witteman
Personal details
Born
Louis Joseph Maria Beel

(1902-04-12)12 April 1902
Roermond, Netherlands
Died11 February 1977(1977-02-11) (aged 74)
Utrecht, Netherlands
Cause of deathLeukemia
NationalityDutch
Political partyCatholic People's Party
(from 1945)
Other political
affiliations
Roman Catholic
State Party
(1933–1945)
Spouse(s)
Jet van der Meulen
(m. 1926; her death 1971)
Children3 daughters and 1 son
Alma materRadboud University Nijmegen
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Philosophy)
OccupationPolitician · Civil servant · Jurist · Researcher · Academic administrator · Nonprofit director · Author · Editor · Professor

Beel worked as an civil servant for the municipality of Eindhoven from 1929 until 1942 and as a legal educator at schools in Tilburg, Breda and Eindhoven from 1927 until 1945. On 23 February 1945 Queen Wilhelmina appointed as Beel Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Gerbrandy II, the last of the Dutch government-in-exile in London. Following the end of World War II, Queen Wilhelmina ordered the formation of a Cabinet of National unity to serve as a caretaker government to reorganize the state and make preparations for the election of 1946, with Beel continued as Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Schermerhorn–Drees, taking office on 25 June 1945.

After the election of 1946 the Catholic People's Party made small win, gaining 1 seat and became the largest party and now had 32 seats in the House of Representatives. The Leader of the Catholic People's Party Carl Romme endorsed Beel as candidate as Prime Minister. Following a formation period a coalition agreement with the Labour Party (PvdA) was made which resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Beel I with Beel becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands on 3 July 1946 and also continuing to served as Minister of the Interior until 15 September 1947. After the election of 1948 Beel was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives on 27 July 1948. He remained as Prime Minister until the Cabinet Drees–Van Schaik was installed on 7 August 1948 but continued to serve as a backbencher in the House of Representatives until his resignation on 29 October 1948 after he was appointed as the High Commissioner of the Dutch East Indies, serving from 29 October 1948 until 18 May 1949. Following the death of Minister of the Interior Johan van Maarseveen, Beel was selected as his successor in the Cabinet Drees I, taking office on 6 December 1951. Following the election of 1952 Beel continued as Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet Drees II and also became Deputy Prime Minister, taking office on 2 September 1952. Beel served as acting Minister of Social Work from 2 September 1952 until 9 September 1952 when Frans-Jozef van Thiel was appointed to the position. He also served as acting Minister of Justice from 4 February 1956 until 15 February 1956 following the death of Leendert Antonie Donker and until Julius Christiaan van Oven was appointed as his successor. He resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior on 7 July 1956 after he was appointed as Chairman of the Beel Commission that was tasked with the investigation into the influence of Greet Hofmans as friend and adviser to Queen Juliana. He was granted the honorary title of Minister of State on 22 December 1958. Beel was nominated as a Member of the Council of State on 1 April 1958. On 11 December 1958 Cabinet Drees III fell and Beel was appointed to form a caretaker government. Following a short formation period a coalition agreement with the Catholic People's Party, Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) and the Christian Historical Union (CHU) was made which resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Beel II with Beel again serving as Prime Minister, Minister of General Affairs and Minister of Social Affairs and Health, taking office on 22 December 1958. He remained as Prime Minister until the De Quay was installed on 19 May 1959. Beel returned as a Member of the Council of State on 1 June 1959 and was appointed on 1 August 1959 as Vice-President of the Council of State, serving until 1 July 1972 having served for nearly 13 years.

After his service on the Council of State, Beel retired from active politics. Following his retirement Beel occupied numerous seats as a nonprofit director for supervisory boards for non-governmental organizations and research institutes (Carnegie Foundation, Organisation for Scientific Research, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, Meertens Institute and the Anne Frank Foundation).

Beel was known for his abilities as a negotiator and consensus builder. Beel continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death.[2][3]

Contents

BiographyEdit

Early lifeEdit

Louis Joseph Maria Beel was born on 12 April 1902 in Roermond, a town with a Bishop's see in the province of Limburg, in the very south of the Netherlands. He grew up in a predominantly Roman Catholic community and went to school at the famous Bisschoppelijk College (Diocesan College) of Roermond. He graduated in 1920 and found work as clerk-volunteer at the municipality of Roermond. Two years later he became secretary to the Educational Religious Inspector of the Roermond diocese, Monsignor Petrus van Gils. When in 1923 the Roman Catholic University was founded in Nijmegen (presently known as the Radboud University Nijmegen), Monsignor van Gils insisted on his secretary becoming a part-time law-student in Nijmegen. In 1924 Beel began commuting between Roermond and Nijmegen. After obtaining his bachelor's degree in 1925 he found a new job as an administrative assistant in the government of the eastern province of Overijssel. He moved to its capital, the town of Zwolle, and left his place of birth Roermond. During the time he lived in Zwolle Beel got married and his first child, a son, was born. In addition to being a provincial civil servant Beel accepted a part-time lectureship at an institute for professional training, Katholieke Leergangen, and he wrote his first articles on legal subjects.

In 1928 Beel obtained his master's degree in law at Radboud University Nijmegen. Subsequently, he applied for a better job, and managed to find one as a clerk in the municipality of Eindhoven, also in the South of The Netherlands at that time a booming city as a result of the establishment of the Philips group. With his wife, his son and his mother-in-law he moved to Eindhoven in 1929 and lived there for more than fifteen years. Three daughters were born there. Beel's professional career progressed rapidly and in less than one year he became a principal clerk. As he had in Zwolle, Beel proved to be an industrious man. He continued his part-time lecturing at the Katholieke Leergangen, he published regularly in the legal press and in 1935 he obtained his doctorate in law at the Radboud University Nijmegen.

World War IIEdit

At the time of his resignation as a municipal Civil servant in 1942, Beel was Director of Social Affairs and Deputy Town Clerk. Beel resigned because he opposed the German Occupation of the Netherlands. To avoid being taken prisoner by the German occupational forces he frequently had to go in hiding. Eindhoven was liberated on 18 September 1944 at the time of the World War II military offensive known as Operation Market Garden. Dutch resistance fighters, massively manifesting themselves immediately after the Germans had gone, saw Beel as one of them. He became the spokesman of a group of prominent citizens in Eindhoven, who had resisted the Germans during the war. The group was not in favour of a continuation of the pre-war political party-lines, with the ever-dominant Anti-Revolutionary Party. In this vein they sent an Address, drafted by Beel, to Queen Wilhelmina, who still resided in London. Beel was urged to accept the function of adviser to the Military Administration (Militair Gezag), the temporary government in the liberated southern part of The Netherlands under Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In this capacity Beel was invited by the Dutch government in exile to travel to London and to advise on dealing with the war victims. He arrived in London on 1 January 1945. On 10 January he visited at her request Queen Wilhelmina in her English mansion Mortimer. This visit gave a decisive turn to Beel's life.

 
Prime Minister Louis Beel in 1947.
 
Prime Minister Louis Beel and Chancellor of Austria Leopold Figl at The Hague Central railway station on 21 October 1952.
 
Vice-President of the Council of State Louis Beel, Prince Claus and Prime Minister Piet de Jong during the announcement following the birth of Prince Willem-Alexander on 2 May 1967.

PoliticsEdit

The Queen intuitively saw in Beel, a Roman Catholic from the South who ostentatiously had rejected Nazism, the prototype of the patriot and of the sort of "renewed" person she was looking for to replace the members of her war-cabinet, of whom she no longer wholeheartedly approved. Beel was promptly appointed Minister of the Interior in the third Gerbrandy cabinet. This cabinet resigned immediately after the end of the war, in May 1945, to free the path for a new one to be formed by two a liberal, Wim Schermerhorn, and social democrat, Willem Drees. They invited Beel to remain as Minister of the Interior in their cabinet (the Cabinet Schermerhorn/Drees). According to his own words, Beel reluctantly agreed. He moved with his family from Eindhoven in the South to Wassenaar in the West, a villadom close to The Hague, the government's residence.

Post-war parliamentary elections could finally be held in May 1946. In the election campaign Beel voiced the political resistance from the religious and liberal parties against the economic planning and socialism favoured by Prime Minister Schermerhorn and his political supporters. Unlike the British elections of the previous year where the Labour Party gained a decisive victory, in the Netherlands the 'Socialist breakthrough' which had been expected did not materialise in these first post-war elections. The Catholic People's Party) was the big winner, though no party had an overall majority. Queen Wilhelmina requested Beel to form a new cabinet. He became Prime Minister of a 'red-Roman coalition', which he called the 'New Truce', since it was the first cabinet in Dutch history of socialists and Roman Catholics. This Beel-cabinet set the course for the political and economic development of the post war Netherlands.

In social policy, temporary measures were introduced in December 1946 entitling wage-earners to an allowance for the first and second child under the age of 18. The Old Age Pensions Emergency Provisions Act of May 1947 provided means-tested pensions for all persons over the age of 65 regardless of the previous employment record, and the Pensioners’ Family Allowances Act of July 1948 introduced family allowance for those in receipt of invalidity, old age, or survivors’ benefits "according to the Invalidity Insurance Act 1919."[4]

In 1948 parliamentary elections were again required for a constitutional renewal, which was thought necessary to solve the problems emerging in the Dutch East Indies, where the nationalists Sukarno and Hatta had proclaimed the independence of their country immediately after the Japanese surrender. The KVP won again and Beel was asked to form a new cabinet. He might again have become Prime Minister, but he failed to form the broad based cabinet of socialists, Catholic parties and liberals, which he deemed necessary to secure the corrections in the Constitution. Josef van Schaik, a fellow KVP politician, took over and succeeded in forming a broad based cabinet by offering the socialist Willem Drees the function of Prime Minister, Josef van Schaik himself being satisfied with the function of Deputy Prime Minister. Drees appointed Beel High Commissioner of the Crown in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), as a successor to Lieutenant Governor General Hubertus van Mook, a man of proven managerial abilities, who had to resign unwillingly.

The Dutch government in The Hague made several attempts to reach an agreement with the Republic of Indonesia. Beel, stationed in Batavia (now named Jakarta), was not in favour of such an agreement because of his suspicions - later proven to be right - that the new Republic did not want the establishment of a Federal State of Indonesia, as was planned in the Dutch decolonisation policy. Under the auspices of the Security Council of the United Nations an agreement was achieved in May 1949 to hold a Round Table Conference in The Hague in order to prepare the transfer of sovereignty. Beel made efforts to thwart the agreement. However he was unsuccessful and he resigned from his Office of High Commissioner of the Crown.

Beel returned to his home at the end of May 1949 and a few months later he accepted a professorate in administrative law at his Alma Mater in Nijmegen, one of his early ambitions.

On 7 November 1951, Johannes Henricus van Maarseveen, Minister of the Interior, suddenly died. Prime Minister Drees appealed to Beel to return to office. Again reluctantly, Beel accepted Prime Minister Drees' offer. He also held the function of Minister of the Interior in the next Drees-cabinet after the elections of 1952. In July 1956 Beel asked that he be allowed to resign from government to become, as a private citizen, chairman of a committee of three wise men that was requested by Queen Juliana and the Consort Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld to help solve problems pertaining to the Royal Family. The problems were related to faith healer Greet Hofmans, whom the Queen had invited to the royal palace in order to cure her youngest daughter, who had been born half blind in 1947. The renowned German magazine Der Spiegel had accused Mrs. Hofmans of playing a 'Rasputin' role in the Royal Family. Within a month the committee had fulfilled its task by writing a secret report, which banished the sensitive affair from publicity. Three months later Beel was appointed Minister of State, a prestigious title of honour.

In 1958 after an interlude of eighteen months without a public office, Beel was appointed member of the Council of State. Soon afterwards however he was called upon to form his second cabinet - a rump cabinet from December 1958 until May 1959, that had to dissolve parliament and call new elections. After these elections Beel assisted the Roman Catholic politician Jan de Quay in forming a Catholic-liberal cabinet, ending for the time being the 'red-Roman coalition', which had been Beel's own initiative in 1946. The Cabinet de Quay appointed Beel as Vice-President of the Dutch Council of State, the most prestigious office in the Dutch administration, the head of state being the honorary President of the Dutch Council of State

Whereas other political leaders, who had come forward after the war, one by one left the political scene and the 'participation-democracy' of the New Left movement created a new type of politician, Beel retained in the authority of the Council of State a great influence on government. He owed his role to the way he performed his high office as well to his position of confidence with the Royal Family. In various affairs the royals faced, Beel's taciturn way of acting on behalf of the monarchy and his prudent pulling the strings behind the scene as Vice-President of the Dutch Council of State gave him the nickname 'The Sphinx'. The power he derived from both positions christened him "Viceroy of the Netherlands". The authority of Beel and his controlling influence in political circles became manifest when new cabinets had to be formed or cabinet crises had to be warded off. Through the thirteen years of his vice-presidency Beel had a steering hand in nearly every cabinet-formation - including the dramatic formation of the cabinet of the social democrat Joop den Uyl in 1973.

Later lifeEdit

As from 1 July 1972, at the age of seventy, Beel resigned (prematurely) from his office of Vice-President of the Dutch Council of State. Some years before his wife had died. He retired with his mentally handicapped eldest daughter and her attendant to the quiet village of Doorn. On 11 February 1977 Beel died in the University Hospital Utrecht from leukemia.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Beel, Louis Joseph Maria (1902-1977)" (in Dutch). Huygens ING. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  2. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Dutch) Dr. L.J.M. (Louis) Beel - Geschiedenis VPRO Archived 8 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in Dutch) Dr. L.J.M. (Louis) Beel
  4. ^ Growth to Limits: The Western European Welfare States Since World War II, Volume 2 edited by Peter Flora

External linksEdit

Official
Political offices
Preceded by
Hendrik van Boeijen
Ad interim
Minister of the Interior
1945–1947
1951–1956
Succeeded by
Piet Witteman
Preceded by
Frans Teulings
Ad interim
Succeeded by
Julius Christiaan
van Oven

Ad interim
Preceded by
Willem Schermerhorn
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
1946–1948
1958–1959
Succeeded by
Willem Drees
Preceded by
Willem Drees
Succeeded by
Jan de Quay
Preceded by
Office established
Minister of General Affairs
1947–1948
1958–1959
Succeeded by
Willem Drees
Preceded by
Willem Drees
Succeeded by
Jan de Quay
Preceded by
Jan Jonkman
Minister of Colonial Affairs
Ad interim

1947
Succeeded by
Jan Jonkman
Preceded by
Hubertus van Mook
High Commissioner of
the Dutch East Indies

1948–1949
Succeeded by
Hubertus van Mook
Preceded by
Josef van Schaik
Deputy Prime Minister
1952–1956
Succeeded by
Teun Struycken
Preceded by
Office established
Minister of Social Work
Ad interim

1952
Succeeded by
Frans-Jozef van Thiel
Preceded by
Leendert Antonie Donker
Minister of Justice
Ad interim

1956
Succeeded by
Julius Christiaan
van Oven
Preceded by
Ko Suurhoff
Minister of Social
Affairs
and Health

1958–1959
Succeeded by
Charles van Rooy
Preceded by
Bram Rutgers
Vice-President of the
Council of State

1959–1972
Succeeded by
Marinus Ruppert