Former MP for the VVD and MEP Hans van Baalen died at the age of 60. He died after a short illness in a hospital in Rotterdam. Recently, he was diagnosed with cancer. In recent weeks, his situation suddenly deteriorated rapidly, says a friend of his family to DeccEit.
Van Baalen was in the House of Representatives on behalf of the VVD from 1999 to 2009. In 2002 he did not enter the Chamber because of the great loss of his party, but returned after the 2003 elections.
Presidency leads to ribbon
In 2009, he moved to Brussels, where he became a member of the European Parliament. He was mainly involved in foreign affairs and defense. From 2015 he was party president of the ALDE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. The VVD is a member of that party on behalf of the Netherlands.
He played a decisive role there, says VVD leader Rutte:
Van Baalen was appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau in November. He received his ribbon from former Chamber President Arib for years of membership in the Chamber and the European Parliament, and for his presidency of the ALDE and the Liberal International. Getting that award he called a great honor.
Accusation of far-right sympathies
At the beginning of his political career, he was accused of far-right sympathies. When he was on the list of candidates in 1998, the story emerged through Vrij Nederland that, as a sixteen year old, he would have written a statement of support to Joop Glimmerveen, leader of the far-right Peoples Union. As chairman of student club Pro Patria, he also sang the Horst Wessellied in the late 70s.
Van Baalen resigned after those allegations, after which a committee investigated. On the basis of the findings of that committee, the VVD granted him a tribute: for example, experts were unable to establish whether the signature on the Glimmerveen letter actually belonged to Van Baalen.
MEPs address crowd in Kiev
In 2014, Van Baalen and his colleague in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, travelled to Kiev. There protesters turned against Russia, which became known as the Maidan revolution.
Verhofstadt then spoke to the crowd: “A new EU delegation comes here every week until you have won the battle.” Van Baalen added to him: “We will stay with you.” That action was criticized by them, because it would have thrown oil on the fire.
Nieuwsuur made a report about that in 2019:
Politically The Hague responds with disgrace to the death of Van Baalen. VVD-Coryfee Frans Weisglas speaks of a horrible message. “Hans van Baalen and I worked traveled, laughed, spoke, so often together. He was committed, a true liberal European and so incredibly nice.”
Former VVD MP Han ten Broeke speaks praise:
D66-MP Rob Jetten calls it sad news and wishes family, friends and VVDers a lot of strength. “I am happy to think back about our cooperation within the European Liberal Party and Hans endless commitment to it.” SGP leader Kees van der Staaij also exhibits his sympathy on Twitter: