Willem "Wim" Kok (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɪm ˈkɔk] (About this sound listen); 29 September 1938 – 20 October 2018) was a Dutch politician who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 August 1994 until 22 July 2002. He was a member of the Labour Party (PvdA).
Kok, a trade union leader by profession, worked for the Netherlands Association of Trade Unions from 1961 until 1976, when it merged to form the Federation Netherlands Labour Movement. Kok served as its first chairman from 1976 until 1986 when he left to enter the House of Representatives as a Labour politician. After the general election of 1994 Kok became Prime Minister of the Netherlands, taking office on 22 August 1994. In the following general election in 1998 Kok's party gained eight seats and the coalition retained its majority with a new cabinet being formed, continuing its policies. On 15 December 2001 Kok announced his retirement from national politics and stood down as Leader of the Labour Party that same day. He remained Prime Minister of the Netherlands until the First Balkenende cabinet was installed on 22 July 2002, semi-retiring from active politics at the age of 63.
After his premiership, Kok became a lobbyist for the European Union and presided over several "high-level groups". He served various roles on supervisory boards in the worlds of business and industry as well as several international non-governmental organizations.
Kok was known for his abilities as a manager and negotiator. During his premiership, his cabinets were responsible for implementing several social reforms and further reducing the deficit. He held the distinction of leading the first purple coalitions as Prime Minister of the Netherlands. On 11 April 2003, he was granted the honorary title of Minister of State.
Wim Kok as union leader leading a Harbourworkers and construction workers strike in the seventies
AP Archive Gepubliceerd op 21 jul. 2015 POOL The Hague - 16 April 2002 1. Wide shot Wim Kok, former Dutch Prime Minister, arrives for press conference 2. SOUNDBITE: (Dutch) Wim Kok, former Dutch Prime Minister (Q: How have the last couple of days been?) "It has been extremely hard and difficult for myself, not because I'm afraid to make a decision but because of the consequences of such a decision, not just for myself but for my cabinet. But in the end the deciding factor, and this is what I said, was taking responsibility for a whole cycle of events during an entire period, during which cabinets carried extensive responsibility - or carry, in the case of the present cabinet. We accept responsibility for this, because I think, as I have said repeatedly, that to implicate the international community of which we are part is not sufficient - the implication is justified, but it is not far reaching enough to have that as the all-encompassing solution." 3. SOUNDBITE: (Dutch) Wim Kok, former Dutch Prime Minister "Anyone who has read the NIOD (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation) report, and who tries to understand the essence of what it is saying, would see clearly that the report indicates that the Dutch conduct in the affair could have been totally different and better, but of course that is with the advantage of hindsight, and I don't mean placing yourself in the circumstances of the past and saying 'personally I would have done that totally differently or better' - that is not the question, the question is whether you take the hindsight of NIOD seriously and take your own responsibility for that, and that is why I gave this response (of resigning)."
APTN The Hague - 16 April 2002 4. Exterior parliament building 5. Police outside building 6. SOUNDBITE: (English) Vox Pop "Well I think it's a good thing. I think so much happened in Srebrenica that it needs a big answer (response) and this is a big response to me, so I think it's a good thing for the government to resign." 7. Exterior of parliament 8. SOUNDBITE: (English) Vox Pop "I think it's very sad but I feel that it's correct. I feel that it is important to take responsibility for what happened, I feel we did the right thing. It's very sad, I don't know how it's going to affect the coming election, but I feel they made the right decision." 9. Wide shot street 10. SOUNDBITE: (English) Vox Pop "I think it was the right thing today for the Dutch government to resign. 57% of the people agreed with this decision. That's my personal opinion." 11. River and parliament building in background 12. Various street scenes
The Dutch government resigned on Tuesday after the release of a report that partly blamed political leaders for failing to prevent the Serb massacre of Muslims during the 1995 fall of the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
The resignation was announced by Prime Minister Wim Kok, who was also head of the government in 1995, when Bosnian Serb forces brushed aside Dutch peacekeepers and overran the U-N-declared "safe zone," executing some 7-thousand-500 Muslims.
Kok announced that he was going to see the Queen and offer the resignation of his cabinet following a special Cabinet session to discuss the damaging report, which was released last week.
The government-commissioned report, which took nearly six years to research, harshly criticised the government for sending Dutch soldiers into a danger zone without a proper mandate or the weapons needed to defend about 30-thousand refugees who had fled to the Dutch base in search of protection.
The Dutch military was in charge of peacekeeping operations in the enclave when Serb forces attacked Srebrenica, driving out or killing its Muslim residents, in a week of bloodshed at the end of 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
It's incredible to look at an old debate like this in 1994, because it is before 911, before the political assassinations of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands and before the emergence of the rightwing Populist parties PVV and Forum voor Democratie. It was a time when the Social Democratic Labour party (PvdA) was still a large party next to the large Christian DemocraticCDA, and the VVD was still the Third party and D66 was the forth party. After this elections Wim Kok would be the first Social democratic prime minister since the seventies.
In this debate you see the old political time with only moderate democratic parties. A time in which xenophobia, discrimination and racism still were taboo. GreenLeft (GroenLinks) was rather left, but not extreme left back then. Ria Brouwers of GreenLeft was the former leader of the Communst CPN, but she was a reform communist, rather moderate, rather West-European and not an Moscow allie. These were different times. The Free thinking left liberal or Social Liberal had an independent position between Labour and the conservative liberals of the VVD (the present Prime minster Mark Rutte's political party)
I belonged to his party during the nineties. Today certainly not. Being independent. This video shows the difficult years Kok went through as a prime minister. The Srebrenica case, 911, the murder of Pim Fortuyn (which created a fierce anti-left and anti-Labour climate in the Netherlands), and the case of the father of Queen Maxima whom was minister during the time of the military dictatorship in Argentine. He had very difficult cases. His government fell due to Srebrenica, when new information came to the surface early this century. In the end he was a prime minister of a demissionary cabinet (Dutch: "demissionair kabinet"), a type of caretaker cabinet in the Netherlands.
Inauguration of the "Esplanade Solidarnosc 1980" and "Agora Simone Veil" in front of the EP in Brussels. With Yves Leterme, Wim KOK, Jerzy Buzek EP President, Bogdan Boureswicz, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Donald Tusk, Simone Veil, Hans-Gert Poettering.
Były premier Holandii i lider FNV Wim Kok odznaczony Medalem Solidarności. Wim Kok with the Polish ambassador in The Hague. He received a Polish medal for his work as FNV Union leader during the eighties and his support in that role for Solidarnośc.
The Hague, 19 November 1982, the Dutch Federation of Dutch Trade Unions FNV chairman Wim Kok demonstrates at the Embassy of the Polish Peoples Republic in the Hague in support of the Polish trade union Solidarność An anti-communist solidarity strike for Polish workers of an anti-communist workers of a largely Labour party supported Dutch Union. It shows the anti-communist nature of West-European Social Democrats and Unionists. The banners read "End the martial law", "FNV solidarity with Solidarność", "Observing the agreements of Gdańsk". And on the fence of the Polish Peoples republic a large banner with "Release the Solidarność Union leaders in Poland".