Dr. W.F. (Wim) Duisenberg

foto Dr. W.F. (Wim) Duisenberg
Naar de grotere foto (verschijnt in een nieuw venster)
bron: Foto Nico Naeff/Nationaal Archief
Source: Parlement.com.

President of the European Central Bank at time of the introduction of the euro, hence dubbed 'Mister Euro'. Duisenberg was a figure of great authority in international politics and finance. Prior to his appointment at the ECB Duisenberg had served as president of the Dutch National Bank and, in the late seventies, as minister of Finance. Duisenberg also served two short terms in the Dutch parliament and for a few years became vicepresident of one of the largest Dutch banks.

Duisenberg is remembered as a calm and realistic man working hard to combine his progressive ideals with the at times harsh reality and constraints of financial and monetary politics. He did so as minister of Finance, and again as president of the ECB where he proved himself an adament defender of a politically independant central bank.


Personal data

Name and surname

Willem Frederik (Wim) Duisenberg

Date of birth

July 9th 1935 (died August 6th 2005)

Place of Birth

Heerenveen (The Netherlands)


  • L. 
    Duisenberg (father)
  • A. 
    Ykema (mother)
  • T. 
    Stelling (first spouse)
  • G. 
    Nieuwenhuizen (second spouse)

One daughter, two sons (one of his sons was elected to the Dutch House of Representatives)

Selected honours and distinctions

Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion, April 11th 1978

Commander in the Order of the Dutch Lion, June 1997

Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau



Secondary education

  • Hbs in Heerenveen (1 year)
  • Gymnasium-b at Lyceum of Heerenveen to 1954


  • Economy: international relations, University of Groningen, 1954 to June 26th 1961 (cum laude)


  • economics, University of Groningen, December 7th 1965
  • honorary doctorate in economic science, University of Amsterdam, January 8th 2001


Political affiliation

PvdA (Labour Party)



  • scientific staff member, Faculty of Economics at University of Groningen, June 1961 to January 1966
  • member of staff, IMF (Interational Monetary Fund) in Washington, January 1st to March 1969
  • advisor to management, Dutch National Bank, March 1969 to October 1970
  • professor in macro-economics, University of Amsterdam, October 22nd 1970 to May 11th 1973
  • Minister of Finance, May 11th 1973 to December 19th 1977
  • member of the Dutch House of Representatives, June 8th 1977 to September 8th 1977
  • member of the Dutch House of Representatives, January 16th 1978 to June 28th 1978
  • advisor to central management, Rabobank, August 1st 1978 to January 1st 1979
  • vice-president of central management, Rabobank, January 1st 1979 to May 1st 1981
  • director, Dutch National Bank, May 1st 1981 to January 1st 1982
  • president, Dutch National bank, January 1st 1982 to July 1st 1997
  • president, EMI (European Monetary Institute), July 1st 1997 to July 1998
  • president, ECB (European Central Bank), July 1st to November 1st 2003


Selection of additional functions

  • member of the supervisory board of KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines)
  • member of the SER (Social-Economic council), appointed by H.M. the Queen from 1982 to July 1st 1997
  • board member BIS (Bank for International Settlement), January 1982 to 1997
  • various memberships of the executive or supervisory board of larger Dutch companies
  • chair of several civil society organisations in a wide range of fields of expertise


Selected political achievements

  • As minister devised a system by which Dutch public debt was linked to employment figures and economic growth, the '1 percent norm'. One of its primary goals was to ensure the average employed person could enjoy a near constant rise in real income
  • Made several (failed) attempts to regulate specific aspects of the financial sector such as rules on invest banking and corporate taxation
  • Under his supervision and that of his junior minister the Postbank, a national bank, was privatised
  • Guided regulation on the use of scriptural trading in stock trade through parliament
  • Become known as 'Mister Euro' as he led the European Central Bank and its predecessor in the transition from national currency to the euro in 2002 in twelve of the member states of the European Union
  • His funeral underlined the stature Duisenberg had accrued as politician and key figure in European monetary affairs. Prior to the funeral itself a commemoration was held, which was attended by prince Willem-Alexander, the Dutch prime minister and several members of his government, the president of the European Commission and a host of other dignitaries
  • After his death the 'Duisenberg School of Finance' was established, stating they will work along the lines of Duisenbergs' conviction and promote 'thoughtful financial leadership'


Selected publications

  • "The economic effects of disarmament”(dissertation 1965)
  • "Some views on imported inflation” (oration, 1971)
  • "Wim Duisenberg. Van Friese volksjongen tot mr. Euro" (biography, 2003)