Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy in 1941
34th Prime Minister of the Netherlands
In office
3 September 1940  24 June 1945
Preceded by Dirk Jan de Geer
Succeeded by Wim Schermerhorn
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
23 October 1956  20 March 1959
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
27 July 1948  3 July 1956
Monarch Wilhelmina
Minister of Colonial Affairs
In office
17 November 1941  21 May 1942
Prime Minister Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy
Preceded by Charles Welter
Succeeded by Hubertus van Mook
Minister of Justice
In office
20 August 1939  21 February 1942
Prime Minister Dirk Jan de Geer (1939–1940)
Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy (1940–1942)
Preceded by Johannes Anthonie de Visser
Succeeded by Johannes van Angeren
Personal details
Born Pieter Gerbrandij
(1885-04-13)13 April 1885
Goënga, Netherlands
Died 7 September 1961(1961-09-07) (aged 76)
The Hague, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Anti-Revolutionary
Spouse(s) Hendrina Elisabeth Sikkel
Children 3
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit (LL.M.)
University of Edinburgh (Dr.h.c.)
Occupation Politician
Religion Reformed Churches in the Netherlands

Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy (born Pieter Gerbrandij; 13 April 1885 – 7 September 1961) was a Dutch politician of the Anti Revolutionary Party (ARP). He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 3 September 1940 until 24 June 1945. He was the Prime Minister of the Dutch government in exile during World War II.[1]

Early life

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' (with a posher-sounding -y suffix meaning 'son of') 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-Revolutionaire Partij (ARP), and became a professor at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam (1930). Against his party's advice he was Minister of Justice (1939).

World War II

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 Wilhemina appointed him as prime minister of the Dutch government in exile, 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. Gerbrandy became an inspirational figure to Dutch citizens during the wartime period, as such he was awarded a medal of valour in 1930 and knighted by HRH Princess Wilhelmina.


In 1945, after the liberation of the south, he formed a new cabinet without socialists, which was alleged to be strictly subordinated to the military rule. 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. This book explains most everything that happened from the 1600s to 1948, it includes "The Indies under Netherlands Rule, The Rule of Law, The Japanese Occupation," and "Chaos." Each section includes detailed observations that he has made.

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


Pieter Sjoerds Gerbrandy died on 7 September 1961 in The Hague at the age of 76.


See also


  1. (Dutch) GERBRANDIJ, Pieter (1885–1961)
  2. see www.tresoar.nl, under Familinamen 1811
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Political offices
Preceded by
Dirk Jan de Geer
Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Wim Schermerhorn
Preceded by
Charles Welter
Minister of Colonial Affairs
Succeeded by
Hubertus van Mook
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