Former housing minister Beelaerts van Blokland (88) died

The former politician and director Pieter Beelaerts van Blokland died at the age of 88. He served as Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning in the first Cabinet of Van Agt from 1977 to 1981. His family commemorates him as an erudite, colourful and striking man who spent years working for the community and his family.

Jonkheer Beelaerts van Blokland came from a noble Dutch regent genus, which had been supplying directors since the 15th century. Many of his forefathers were also named Pieter.

Pieter Beelaerts of Blokland followed in their footsteps early on. As a 30-year-old, he became mayor, like his father, on behalf of the CHU, one of the forerunners of the CDA. His first municipality was Wolphaartsdijk in Zeeland. Vianen and Amstelveen followed.

Furious PvdA

In 1977, Beelaerts van Blokland became unexpectedly Minister for Housing and Spatial Planning (VROM). He was one of the ministers who, due to their somewhat a-political attitude and regentesque style, caused the anger of the PvdA and its leader Joop den Uyl, who could not take up the fact that they had ended up in the opposition.

Beelaerts van Blokland was fiercely attacked in the House of Representatives by the PvdA, among other things because he would not build enough social rental housing and would not take criticism from the Chamber seriously enough. When asked by PvdA-MP Marcel van Dam why he had not addressed his words, he said: โ€œI thought I had to exercise an appropriate silence about an inappropriate speechโ€.

Partly because of his policy, growth cities such as Alphen aan den Rijn, Lelystad and Hoorn developed.

Nature and History

After the 1981 elections, Beelaerts van Blokland became a member of the House of Representatives, but within two months he was appointed Mayor of Apeldoorn. He then served as the Queens Commissioner in the province of Utrecht for another thirteen years.

He was interested in nature management and history. At his departure as commissioner in Utrecht, the Beelaerts van Bloklandfonds was formed as a gift. This awards an annual award to an organization that connects nature, culture and history.

He remained active after retirement. He was president of the National Orange Committee for the Wedding of Prince Willem Alexander and Mรกxima Zorreguieta in 2002.

Beelaerts van Blokland was married to Baroness Ulrica Bentinck, with whom he had three children. After a divorce, he married Dieuwke Jepma in 1993.