Willem Drees

Willem Drees Sr. (; 5 July 1886 – 14 May 1988) was a Dutch politician of the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) and later co-founder of the Labour Party (PvdA) and historian who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 7 August 1948 to 22 December 1958.

Drees was elected to the House of Representatives for the SDAP in the 1933 general election and served as a frontbencher and spokesperson for social affairs. He succeeded Willem Albarda as party leader in 1940, and following the end of World War II, Drees was appointment Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs in the national unity Schermerhorn–Drees cabinet. In February 1946, Drees was one of the co-founders of the Labour Party and became its first Leader. After the 1948 general election, Drees led his party through a successful cabinet formation with the Catholic People's Party and formed the Drees–Van Schaik cabinet, with Drees becoming Prime Minister of the Netherlands, taking office on 7 August 1948.

The Drees-Van Schaik cabinet fell on 24 January 1951 and after a short cabinet formation was replaced by the first Drees cabinet, with Drees continuing as prime minister. For the 1952 general election, Drees served again as lead candidate and following a successful cabinet formation formed the second Drees cabinet and continued as prime minister for a second term. For the 1956 general election Drees once again served as lead candidate and following another cabinet formation formed the third Drees cabinet and continued as prime minister for a third term. The third Drees cabinet fell on 11 December 1958 and shortly thereafter Drees announced his retirement and would step down as Leader and would not serve another term as prime minister. Drees left office upon the installation of the caretaker second Beel cabinet on 22 December 1958.

Drees was known for his abilities as a skilful team leader and effective manager. From 1948 to 1958, his four cabinets were mostly praised and supported by the largest parties in the Netherlands. During his premiership, his cabinets were responsible for several major social reforms to social security, welfare, child benefits and education, overseeing the decolonization of the Dutch East Indies following the Indonesian National Revolution, the fallout of the annexation of former German territory and dealing with several major crises such as the North Sea flood of 1953 and Hofmans scandal.

Drees retired from active politics at 72 but continued to be active as a valued historian and prolific author and served on several state commissions and councils on behalf of the government. Drees was granted the honorary title of Minister of State on 22 December 1958 and continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death in May 1988 at the age of 101. He holds the record as the fourth longest-serving and longest-lived Prime Minister at and his premiership is consistently regarded both by scholars and the public to have been one of the best in Dutch history. Provided by Wikipedia