Paul Vanden Boeynants

Paul Emile François Henri Vanden Boeynants (pronounced [ˈpɔl vandən bujˈnants]; 22 May 1919 – 9 January 2001) was a Belgian politician.[1] He served as the prime minister of Belgium for two brief periods (1966–68 and 1978–79).[1]

Paul Vanden Boeynants
Paul Vanden Boeynants 1966.jpg
Paul Vanden Boeynants in 1966
Prime Minister of Belgium
In office
20 October 1978 – 3 March 1979
Preceded byLeo Tindemans
Succeeded byWilfried Martens
In office
19 March 1966 – 17 June 1968
Preceded byPierre Harmel
Succeeded byGaston Eyskens
Minister of Defense
In office
Prime MinisterGaston Eyskens
Edmond Leburton
Leo Tindemans
Preceded byPaul Willem Segers
Succeeded byJosé Desmarets
Personal details
Born(1919-05-22)22 May 1919
Forest, Belgium
Died9 January 2001(2001-01-09) (aged 81)
Aalst, Belgium
Political partyChristian Social Party
Humanist Democratic Centre


Vanden Boeynants (called "VDB" by journalists) was born in Forest / Vorst, a municipality now in the Brussels-Capital Region. Active as a businessman in the meat industry, he was a Representative for the PSC-CVP between 1949 and 1979. From 1961 to 1966 he led the Christian democrat PSC-CVP (which was in those days a single party). He led the CEPIC, its conservative fraction.

Vanden Boeynants served as minister for the middle class (1958-1961). In 1966, he became Prime Minister of Belgium; he stayed in this post for two years. From 1972-1979 he served as minister of defense. In 1978–1979 he led another Belgian government. Vanden Boeynants then served as chairman of the PSC (1979-1981). He left politics in 1995, and died of pneumonia after undergoing cardiovascular surgery in 2001.

One of his famous expressions, in a unique mixture of Dutch and French, was: Trop is te veel en te veel is trop. ("too many is too much and too much is too many").[2]


Convicted in 1986 for fraud and tax evasion, Vanden Boeynants was given a suspended jail sentence of three years.[2] This prevented him from pursuing mayoral aspirations in Brussels. He underwent a political rehabilitation during the early 1990s.


In an incident that is still the subject of dispute, Vanden Boeynants was kidnapped on 14 January 1989 by members of the Haemers criminal gang.[3] Three days later, the criminals published a note in the leading Brussels newspaper Le Soir, demanding 30 million Belgian francs in ransom. Vanden Boeynants was released unharmed a month later, on 13 February, when an undisclosed ransom was paid to the perpetrators. The gang members were caught and imprisoned. Patrick Haemers, the head of the gang, later committed suicide in prison,[4] and two members of his gang managed to escape from the St Gillis Prison in 1993.

In popular cultureEdit

The kidnapping was referenced in a 1989 novelty song by the New Beat band Brussels Sound Revolution called "Qui...?", which featured samples from the press conference Vanden Boeynants gave after his kidnapping.[5][6][7] It was a hit on both sides of the Belgian language border. In Flanders, Belgium, it reached the 28th place in the Radio 2 hitparade at the time for one week.[8]



  • N. Hirson, Paul Vanden Boeynants, Brussels, 1969.
  • Paul Debogne, Les Amis de Paul Vanden Boeynants et leurs Affaires, Ed. Vie Ouvrière, Brussel, 1970.
  • R. Stuyck, Paul Vanden Boeynants, boeman of supermen?, Brussels, 1973.
  • Els Cleemput & Alain Guillaume, La rançon d'une vie. Paul Vanden Boeynants 30 jours aux mains de Patrick Haemers, Brussels, 1990.
  • D. Ilegems & J. Willems, De avonturen van VDB, Brussels, 1991.
  • P. Havaux & P. Marlet, Sur la piste du crocodile, Brussels, 1994.
  • Armand De Decker, In memoriam Paul Vanden Boeynants, Belgian Senate, 18 January 2001.


  1. ^ a b January 2001. Rulers. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b "In memoriam", De Standaard, 9 January 2001
  3. ^ Dick Leonard (16 January 2001) Paul Vanden Boeynants. The Independent, Retrieved 3 April 2011
  4. ^ Death sentence for gangsters. The Independent, 30 January 1994, Retrieved 3 April 2011
  5. ^ "'Qui..?' van Brussels Sound Revolution". Het Laatste Nieuws.
  6. ^ Grommen, Door: Stefan. "25 jaar geleden werd 'VDB' ontvoerd: Gemarchandeerd zoals op de beestenmarkt".
  7. ^ "Brussels Sound Revolution's 'Qui...?' - Discover the Sample Source".
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b c d e "VAN DEN BOEYNANTS".

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Belgium
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defense
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Belgium
Succeeded by