Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy (born Pieter Gerbrandij; 13 April 1885 – 7 September 1961) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and jurist who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 3 September 1940 until 25 June 1945.[1]

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy 1941 (1).jpg
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy in 1941
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
3 September 1940 – 25 June 1945
DeputyHendrik van Boeijen
(De facto)
Preceded byDirk Jan de Geer
Succeeded byWillem Schermerhorn
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
23 October 1956 – 20 March 1959
In office
27 July 1948 – 3 July 1956
Parliamentary groupAnti-Revolutionary Party
Minister of Colonial Affairs
In office
17 November 1941 – 21 May 1942
Prime MinisterPieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Preceded byCharles Welter
Succeeded byHubertus van Mook
Minister of Justice
In office
23 February 1945 – 25 June 1945
Prime MinisterPieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Preceded byGerrit Jan van
Heuven Goedhart
Succeeded byHans Kolfschoten
In office
10 August 1939 – 21 February 1942
Prime MinisterDirk Jan de Geer
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Preceded byJohan de Visser
Succeeded byJan van Angeren
Personal details
Pieter Gerbrandij

(1885-04-13)13 April 1885
Goënga, Netherlands
Died7 September 1961(1961-09-07) (aged 76)
The Hague, Netherlands
Political partyAnti-Revolutionary Party
Hendrina Elisabeth Sikkel
(m. 1911; his death 1961)
Children2 sons and 1 daughter
Alma materFree University Amsterdam
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws, Doctor of Law)
OccupationPolitician · Civil servant · Jurist · Lawyer · Judge · Prosecutor · Researcher · Nonprofit director · Political pundit · Lobbyist · Activist · Author · Professor
Military service
Allegiance Netherlands
Branch/serviceRoyal Netherlands Army
Years of service1914–1918 (Reserve)
RankCaptain Captain
UnitRoyal Army Artillery
Battles/warsWorld War I

Gerbrandy attended a Gymnasium in Zetten from June 1897 until June 1904 and applied at the Free University Amsterdam in June 1904 majoring in Law and obtaining an Bachelor of Laws degree in July 1906 and worked as a student researcher before graduating with an Master of Laws degree in September 1910 and later got a doctorate as an Doctor of Law on 27 January 1911. Gerbrandy worked as a lawyer and prosecutor from February 1911 until August 1920 in Leiden from February 1911 until March 1914 and in Sneek from March 1914 until August 1920. Gerbrandy also served in the military reserve force of the Royal Netherlands Army as a Captain during World War I from December 1914 until December 1918. Gerbrandy served on the Municipal Council of Sneek from April 1916 until January 1930 and served on the Provincial-Council of Friesland from July 1919 until August 1920 and as a member of the Provincial-Executive of Friesland from August 1920 until January 1930. Gerbrandy worked as a professor of Corporate law, Competition law and Property law at the Free University Amsterdam from 15 January 1930 until 10 August 1939. Gerbrandy also became active in the public sector occupying numerous seats as a nonprofit director on several boards of directors and supervisory boards and served on several state commissions and councils on behalf of the government (Radio Council and the Council for Culture). On 27 July 1939 the Cabinet Colijn V was dismissed by Queen Wilhelmina and continued to serve in a demissionary capacity until the cabinet formation of 1939 when it was replaced by the Cabinet De Geer II with Gerbrandy appointed as Minister of Justice, taking office on 10 August 1939.

On 10 May 1940 Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the government fled to London to escape the German occupation. The Cabinet De Geer II fell on 26 August 1940 after a conflict between Queen Wilhelmina and Prime Minister Dirk Jan de Geer and continued to serve in a demissionary capacity. Shortly thereafter Gerbrandy was approached by the Vice-President of the Council of State Frans Beelaerts van Blokland as a candidate for Prime Minister, Gerbrandy accepted and was appointed as Formateur to form a new War cabinet. The following cabinet formation of 1940 resulted in a coalition agreement between the Anti-Revolutionary Party, the Roman Catholic State Party (RKSP), the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP), the Christian Historical Union (CHU), the Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB) and the Liberal State Party (LSP) to from a Government of National Unity which formed the Cabinet Gerbrandy I with Gerbrandy becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands and continuing as Minister of Justice, taking office on 3 September 1940. The Cabinet Gerbrandy I fell on 12 June 1941 after a conflict between Queen Wilhelmina and Minister of Defence Adriaan Dijxhoorn and continued to serve in a demissionary capacity until the cabinet formation of 1941 that resulted in the continuation of the coalition agreement which formed the Cabinet Gerbrandy II with Gerbrandy continuing as Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, taking office on 27 July 1941. Gerbrandy was also appointed as Minister of Colonial Affairs following the resignation of Charles Welter and dual served in both positions, taking office on 17 November 1941. On 21 February 1942 Gerbrandy resigned as Minister of Justice following the appointment of Jan van Angeren. On 21 May 1942 Gerbrandy resigned as Minister of Colonial Affairs following the appointment of Hubertus van Mook and was appointment as Minister of General Warfare the same day. On 27 January 1945 Gerbrandy forced Minister of the Interior Jaap Burger to resign following an impromptu remark during a radio address where Burger differentiated between "wrongful" Dutch civilians (foute Nederlanders) and Dutch civilians who made a mistake (Nederlanders die een fout hebben gemaakt) but because Gerbrandy did not discuss this with rest of the cabinet all the Social Democratic Workers' Party cabinet members announced there resignation and the cabinet continued to serve in a demissionary capacity until it was replaced by the Cabinet Gerbrandy III with Gerbrandy remaining Prime Minister and Minister of General Warfare and appointed again as Minister of Justice, taking office on 23 February 1945. Following the end of World War II Queen Wilhelmina ordered the formation of a new Government of National Unity to reorganize the state and make preparations for new elections. Following the cabinet formation of 1945 Gerbrandy was not giving a cabinet post in the new cabinet, the Cabinet Gerbrandy III was replaced by the Cabinet Schermerhorn–Drees on 25 June 1945.

Gerbrandy remained in active politics, he was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1948, serving as a frontbencher from 27 July 1948 until 3 July 1956. Gerbrandy subsequently returned as a Member of the House of Representatives after Jelle Zijlstra was appointed as Ministers of Economic Affairs in the Cabinet Drees I following the election of 1956, taking office on 23 October 1956. In December 1958 Gerbrandy announced that he wouldn't stand for the election of 1959 and continued to serve until the end of the parliamentary term on 20 March 1959.

Early lifeEdit

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy was born on 13 April 1885 in the village of Goënga near Sneek, in the province of Friesland, in the Netherlands. He was an ethnic Frisian, and his name is styled in the traditional Frisian way: first name ("Pieter"), patronymic ("Sjoerds", meaning "son of Sjoerd"), family name (Gerbrandy). Incidentally, the name Gerbrandy is also a patronymic; his great-great-grandfather Jouke Gerbrens (1769–1840) took 'Gerbrandy’ as a family name on 30 December 1811.[2]


From 1920 to 1930, he was a member of the States of Friesland for the Anti-Revolutionary Party (ARP), and became a professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (1930). Against his party's advice he was Minister of Justice (1939).

World War IIEdit

The royal family and many leading politicians had fled to London in 1940. There, they formed a government in exile. After De Geer's resignation and because of Gerbrandy's rejection of De Geer's defeatism, Queen Wilhelmina appointed him as prime minister of the Dutch government in exile,[3] serving in turn as minister of justice, the Colonies, and the general conduct of the War. On his initiative, the Dutch government started to broadcast from Radio Oranje. This station supplied the Dutch population with information from the free world whilst under the occupation of Nazi Germany. His premature broadcast announcement on 4 September 1944 that Allied forces had crossed the border prompted the celebrations of Dolle Dinsdag (Mad Tuesday), and undermined the morale of the German occupiers. Gerbrandy became an inspirational figure to Dutch citizens during the wartime period, as such he was awarded a medal of valour in 1950 and knighted by HRH Princess Wilhelmina.


After the liberation of the south in 1945, he formed a new cabinet without socialists, which was alleged to be strictly subordinated to military rule.[further explanation needed] He resigned after the total liberation. He strongly opposed the government's "Indonesian policy", and in 1946–50 chaired the National Committee for the Maintenance of the Kingdom's Unity, which was against the separation of Indonesia and supported the idea of a Republic of the South Moluccas.

In 1950, his book Indonesia was published, offering an explanation of the history of the relationship of the two nations from the 1600s to 1948, including "The Indies under the Netherland's Rule, The Rule of Law, The Japanese Occupation" and "Chaos," with each section outlining his detailed observations.[4]

In 1948, he returned to the Dutch Parliament. However, his hot temper alienated his party members. In 1956, he was member of a commission which investigated the affair surrounding Greet Hofmans. In 1959, he resigned as a member of Parliament.

Personal lifeEdit

On 18 May 1911 Gerbrandy married Hendrina Elisabeth Sikkel (26 February 1886 – 4 May 1980).[5][6][7] Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy died on 7 September 1961 in The Hague at the age of 76.


Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
  Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 6 May 1946 Elevated from Knight (28 August 1930)
  Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 5 April 1955
  Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau Luxembourg
  Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire United Kingdom [8]
Honorific Titles
Ribbon bar Honour Country Date Comment
  Minister of State Netherlands 5 April 1955 Style of Excellency


  1. ^ (in Dutch) GERBRANDIJ, Pieter (1885–1961)
  2. ^ see www.tresoar.nl, under Familinamen 1811
  3. ^ "As a result of a reshuffle..." The Age. 19 September 1940. p. 8. Retrieved 11 February 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ Gerbrandy, P. S. (Pieter Sjoerds) (1950). Indonesia. Hutchinson, London
  5. ^ https://www.genealogieonline.nl/stambom-kok/I24714.php
  6. ^ "Hendrina Elisabeth Gerbrandy". Geni. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Gerbrandy, Pieter Sjoerds". WW2 Gravestone. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Bijzondere onderscheidingen gevonden in archief Gerbrandy" (in Dutch). Omrop Fryslân. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2018.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Johan de Visser
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Jan van Angeren
Preceded by
Gerrit Jan van
Heuven Goedhart
Succeeded by
Hans Kolfschoten
Preceded by
Dirk Jan de Geer
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Willem Schermerhorn
Preceded by
Charles Welter
Minister of Colonial Affairs
Succeeded by
Hubertus van Mook
Preceded by
Hendrik van Boeijen
Minister of General Affairs
Succeeded by
Willem Schermerhorn