Editorial: Women power

A record number of women are due to make up the next Dutch government after the incoming coalition published its list of ministers and secretaries of state on Sunday.

An unprecedented 14 of the 29 ministers and secretaries of state will be women, including 10 of the 20 ministers. The four-party coalition will be sworn in on 10 January after reaching a deal in December — a record 271 days after elections in March — handing Prime Minister Mark Rutte a fourth term in office.

Previous finance minister and centre-right leader Wopke Hoekstra, known for his hawkish stance on spending, will become foreign minister. Former foreign minister Sigrid Kaag will replace him in the exchequer brief. The finance minister’s appointment is closely watched as the Netherlands is seen as one of the European Union’s ‘frugal four’ member states alongside Austria, Denmark and Sweden that clash with other nations over the EU’s budget.

Ernst Kuipers, who was responsible for moving coronavirus patients around the country, will replace Hugo de Jonge as health minister. Mark Rutte will remain prime minister, leading his fourth government, after the longest negotiations on government formation in the country’s history. Key posts including defense, foreign affairs and finance will be held by his coalition partners. Kaag’s appointment brings the number of female finance ministers in the European Union to five.

A career diplomat by occupation, she resigned as the foreign minister last year after the Dutch parliament condemned her handling of the Afghanistan evacuation crisis.