Former Dutch Prime Minister Dies at 83 : Jan de Quay Helped Found Union, Led Nation for Four Years

Associated Press

Jan de Quay, who as prime minister led the Dutch government from 1959 to 1963, has died. He was 83.

De Quay died Thursday at his home in Beers in the southern part of the Netherlands, his family said Friday. No cause of death was given.

Educated as a psychologist, he later was a professor of psychology at the University of Tilburg. De Quay was one of the founders of the Dutch Union in 1940.

After the invasion of the Netherlands that year by Germany, the union set itself up as a political force whose aim was to come to an accommodation with the German occupiers that would prevent the feared imposition of an occupation government dominated by the Dutch Nazi Party.


Kept Hostage by Germans

However, the union was banned by the Germans in 1941 after it refused to support the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and De Quay was subsequently kept hostage by the Germans.

He was released later during the war but was barred by the Germans from political activity.

De Quay’s wartime political activity was seen in retrospect by his fellow countrymen not as collaboration but as an attempt to prevent the total Nazi domination of all elements of Dutch life, which ultimately befell the Netherlands.


The Dutch Nazi Party never was allowed to form an occupation government by the Nazis, who installed their own military administration.

Actions Ruled Justified

After the war, a government committee ruled that de Quay’s wartime political activities were justified, and he was allowed to resume his political life.

In 1959 he became prime minister, leading a center-right coalition dominated by his party, the Catholic People’s Party, a predecessor of the Christian Democrats, senior partner in the current governing coalition.