Other names: 'Father Drees'
Minister of State of the Netherlands 1958
Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Africa 1956
Grand Cross of the Order Dannebrog (Denmark)
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Netherlands Lion (Netherlands)
Cross of the Legion of Honour 1954 (France)
Cross of the Order of Crown of Oak (Luxembourg)
Cross of the Order of Leopold 1949 (Belgium)
Knight Grand Cross of Order of St Michael and St George
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Trinity (Ethiopia)
Grand Cross of the Order of George I (Greece)
Grand Cross Order of Adolf of Nassau (Luxembourg)
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Olav (Norway)
Commander Grand Cross of the Order of Vasa (Sweden)
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Thailand
Minister for Union Affairs and Overseas Departments (acting) 1951
Minister for General Affairs 1945-58
Prime Minister of the Netherlands 1945-58
Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands 1946-48
Member of the Lower House of the States General 1946, 1948, 1952 and 1956
Minister of Social Affairs 1945-48
Social Democratic Workers' Party parliamentary group leader of the States
Member of the parliamentary group 1933-40
Member of the Lower House of the States General 1933-45
Member of the city council of The Hague
Stenographer of the House of Representatives of the States General in
The Hague 1907-19
The son of Johannes Michiel Drees (1858-1891) and Anna Sophia van Dobbenburgh
Drees was one of the greatest twentieth-century politicians, under whose
leadership both the decolonisation and reconstruction of the Netherlands
took place after the liberation from German occupation. He was a convinced
social democrat, but with a very pragmatic attitude. He grew up in Amsterdam,
joining the Social Democratic Workers' Party in 1904,
and rising from the position of stenographer to alderman of The Hague
and MP, to minister and prime minister. As alderman before 1940, he had
a good reputation as a director.
From 1940 to 1941 he was imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp
, and in 1942, in the Sint Michielsgestel camp. He afterwards became a
central figure of political resistance. In 1947, as Minister of Social
he was responsible for building the country's welfare programme and social
democracy, establishing the Emergency Old-Age Provisions Act. He secured
the United States Marshall Plan for the Netherlands in 1948.
Drees was to became a popular statesman both through his leadership and
austerity with all sides of the political spectrum. He was a self-possessed
man who lived simply, reaching a very old age. Drees married Catharina
Hent in 1910, and had the following children Anna Sophia (*1911), Adriana
Catharina (1914-20), Johannes Michiel (1919-2002), Willem jr (1922-98).
Place of birth: Amsterdam
Place of marriage: Amsterdam
Place of death: The Hague
1. Dr. W. (Willem) Drees. Parlementair Documentatie Centrum.
2. Willem Drees. Biografisch Portaal van Nederland.
3 The International Who's Who 1974-75, 38th edn. London: Europa
Publications Limited, 1974.
4. Liberiaanse ridderorde (Order of the Star of Africa), ontvangen door
Willem Drees, anonymous, c. 1400 - c. 1950. Rijksmuseum.
5. Miniatuur ordetekens van Willem Drees, Van Wielik BV, 1950 - 1988. Rijksmuseum.