The political party D66 put forward Member of Parliament Ingrid van Engelshoven as Minister of Education, Culture and Science. Arie Slob of the ChristenUnie is the intended second Minister of Education, Culture and Science for primary and secondary education.

On Friday evening D66 party chairman Alexander Pechtold ‘proudly presented’ his ministerial and state secretary candidates for the third Rutte administration. Among them was current Member of Parliament Ingrid van Engelshoven. As the lead minister of Education, Culture and Science, she will be responsible for the portfolios of higher education, culture and science and equal opportunity.


The 51-year-old Van Engelshoven grew up in Belgium. While she has been a D66 Member of Parliament since March this year, she is certainly no novice in politics. She was already politically active during her student days (Law in Leiden and Political Science at Radboud University), when she was chair of the D66 chapter in Nijmegen.

She became a D66 party assistant in the House of Representatives, where she worked for a number of people, including D66 founder Hans van Mierlo, a figure she admired. As chair of the party from 2007 to 2013, together with Alexander Pechtold, she helped D66 regain its popularity among voters. “He took care of the external factors, I dealt with internal matters, the organisation”, she stated earlier in the spring during an interview with the newspaper Trouw.

Van Engelshoven has previously worked with the Netherlands Bar Association, the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, and – student societies should consider themselves forewarned – the Campaign for Sensible Drinking (Stiva).

Equal opportunity

In 2010 she held the position of alderman for education in The Hague, where she also later became Deputy Mayor. In these roles she was a strong advocate of equal opportunity in education. For example, she invested in providing extra coaching for talented girls for whom continuing on to higher education was not necessarily a given. And in 2016 she called on schools in The Hague to initiate more two-year and three-year transition classes. In her opinion, students are too young when the selection is made for preparatory secondary vocational education, senior general secondary education or pre-university education.

Van Engelshoven has much more limited experience with higher education and science. However, these are the portfolios that have been assigned to her, along with the portfolios for culture and equal opportunity affairs.

The second minister, ChristenUnie’s Arie Slob, is a former social studies teacher and was party chair in the House of Representatives until 2015. He will be responsible for primary and secondary education and media policy. Which of the two ministers will be responsible for senior secondary vocational education and training is as yet unclear.