The father of decriminalized cannabis in the Netherlands has passed away

Sander BakkesCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Former Prime Minister Dries van Agt (93) has passed away, announced The Rights Forum on behalf of his family. Van Agt passed away last Monday and has already been buried. The former member of the CDA served as prime minister from 1977 until the end of 1982. Last week, he celebrated his 93rd birthday. Van Agt had been dealing with health issues for a long time. As the honorary president and founder of the knowledge center on Israel and the Palestinians, he fought for human rights.

Van Agt served as deputy prime minister in the government of PvdA leader Den Uyl, with whom he had a difficult relationship. After the 1977 elections, it seemed that there would be a second Den Uyl government due to the Labour Party’s (PvdA) significant electoral victory, but ultimately there was too much distrust, and Van Agt opted for VVD leader Wiegel.

Van Agt led three governments as prime minister between 1977 and 1982: the Van Agt I government with Wiegel as deputy prime minister, the Van Agt II government with Deputy Prime Ministers Den Uyl and Terlouw, which fell after a few months and was followed by the Van Agt III government, only with D66.

He retired from active politics in 1982 and since then devoted himself to advocacy. A staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, he was also the architect of the cannabis tolerance policy in the Netherlands, which in 1976 opened the doors to coffee shops. Once known as an ultra-conservative during his premiership, over the years he shifted to the left, according to many.


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