Wim Duisenberg

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Wim Duisenberg (2001)
Wim Duisenberg's signature as shown on euro banknotes that were printed during his tenure
Wim Duisenberg's signature was already on a 25 guilder banknote

Willem Frederik "Wim" Duisenberg [ ˈʋɪləm ˈfɾeːdəɾɪk ˈdœʏ̯zənbɛɾχ ] (born  July 9, 1935 in Heerenveen ; †  July 31, 2005 in Faucon , Département Vaucluse , France ) was a Dutch politician and economist and from 1998 to 2003 the first President of the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main .


Wim Duisenberg studied at the University of Groningen economics and graduated with the theme "Economic consequences of disarmament". He was Finance Minister of the Netherlands from 1973 to 1977 and was a member of the Second Chamber of Parliament for a few months in 1978 as a representative of the Partij van de Arbeid . He resigned this mandate to become Vice President of Rabobank Nederland BV; from 1982 to 1994 he then acted as President of the Dutch Central Bank .

On May 2, 1998, he was elected President of the European Central Bank against French competitor Jean-Claude Trichet . Due to the violent intervention of the French government, which absolutely wanted to get Trichet through as the first president, after having already lost out to Germany in choosing the location of the ECB, there was almost a scandal. This was only prevented by the fact that Duisenberg renounced the full term of office of 8 years and agreed to hand over the office to Trichet after four years. The introduction of the euro in cash under his chairmanship in 2002 earned him the nickname “Mr. Euro ”. His signature is shown on all euro banknotes printed up to 2003.

In 2003, Wim Duisenberg announced his resignation from the office of President on his 68th birthday, July 9, 2003, but this was rejected by the EU finance ministers - he should be in office until his successor was properly appointed on November 1, 2003 remain. He was succeeded by his former competitor Jean-Claude Trichet. During his tenure, Duisenberg had to put up with harsh and polemical criticism from the British mass media (including headlines such as "Dim Wim" ).

Because of his services to the introduction of the euro, Duisenberg was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany on July 24, 2002 . Also in 2002 he accepted the International Charlemagne Prize of the city of Aachen on behalf of the euro.

Wim Duisenberg was married to the politically controversial activist Gretta Duisenberg , who repeatedly hit the headlines for her violent agitation against Israeli politics. Not least because of this, the Duisenberg couple have often been accused of anti-Semitism .

On the morning of July 31, 2005, Wim Duisenberg was discovered dead by his wife in their villa in Faucon in the south of France ( Vaucluse department ). According to prosecutors, he was found in the swimming pool. His wife contradicted this and told the Dutch daily “ de Volkskrant ” that she had found him in front of his study. The senior public prosecutor found that Duisenberg had died of a heart attack .

Duisenberg left two sons and a daughter from his first marriage.



Web links

Commons : Wim Duisenberg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wim Duisenberg overleden (video) , August 1, 2005, NU
  2. European Banker of the Year ( Memento of November 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) in: Maleki Group , accessed on December 7, 2010
  3. Award "Goldenes Schlitzohr" ( Memento from October 8, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  4. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF; 6.9 MB)