ALDE President Hans van Baalen dies

Warm tributes have been made to the former prominent MEP who has died at 60 after a short illness.
Source: ALDE Party | ALDE President Hans van Baalen

By Martin Banks and Jonathan Benton

Martin Banks is a senior reporter and Jonathan Benton is content editor at The Parliament Magazine.

30 Apr 2021

ALDE Party president Hans van Baalen passed away on Thursday, April 29. It is believed he was recently told he had cancer and his condition had suddenly deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks.

Renew Europe leader Dacian Cioloș led the tributes to the Dutchman, saying, “I am saddened to learn of the passing of Hans. My thoughts are with his wife, his son, his family, and friends. My thoughts also go out to the VVD party for which he meant so much.”

“Throughout his political life, in his national and European mandates, Hans van Baalen was always keen to listen and to promote liberal values. Having served both Liberal International and the ALDE party as President and MEP, liberalism was in his DNA, tirelessly travelling the world to bring all Liberals together."

“I have personally witnessed his enthusiasm and commitment to try at all times to implement the unity of the liberal family, to promote its values and to make our diversity a real asset."

He added, "I know to what extent he encouraged the creation of our political group, Renew Europe, in the European Parliament, with an open-mindedness that must be welcomed today. Our Renew family is today well aware that we are losing one of our major and tireless supporters. For many of us, Hans was more than a colleague. On this sad day, it is above all the friend that I remember.”

For ten years Hans van Baalen was an MEP and specialised in Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs.  Before, he was a member of the House of Representatives in the Netherlands from 1999 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2009. He was also the President of Liberal International (LI) between 2009 and 2014 before becoming President of Honour of LI.

Renew Europe colleague Guy Verhofstadt tweeted: “Sad to hear my friend Hans van Baalen passed away last night, merely 60 years old. A dear colleague and crafty compromise maker in the European Parliament, a trusted president of the ALDE party. A true liberal heart. My condolences to his wife and son.”

Another Renew Europe colleague, German deputy Nicola Beer, tweeted: “Hans van Baalen passed away tonight. What a loss. A great personality, a European liberal of the first hour. Always committed to creating a better Europe for the people. Honest, conscientious. A friend. We will miss him very much. Our thoughts are with his family.”

And European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager tweeted: “Really sad to learn that Hans van Baalen has passed away. He was the kindest man and the most dedicated European. The ALDE Party will not be the same without him. I will miss him so much. Rest in peace.”

While ALDE Party Secretary General Jacob Moroza Rasmussen added, “It is with profound sadness and with a heavy heart that we announce that Mr Hans van Baalen, ALDE Party President, passed away peacefully in the late hours of Thursday 29 April, after a short illness. He was 60 years old and is survived by his wife Ineke and son Robert.”

“A passionate and committed liberal, Hans served his country and global liberalism through a distinguished political career as a member of the Dutch House of Representatives (1999-2009), as a member of European Parliament (2009-2019), as President of Liberal International (2009-2014) and President of the ALDE Party (2015-).”

“The thoughts and condolences of the ALDE Party Bureau, Secretariat, and the entire liberal family are with his family at this tragic time.”

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