Affiche CDA Hanja Maij-Weggen
Affiche CDA Hanja Maij-Weggen

Brussels stories: Hanja Maij-Weggen, the longest-serving Dutch MEP

Poster CDA European Parliament elections 1999. DNPP collection.

On Thursday 6 June, we can go to the ballot box to cast our vote for the European Parliament. In the coming weeks, we will highlight a number of interesting articles around this topic in the 'Europe, pretty important' section.

After 9 June, many new MEPs will make an appearance again. Whether they will be for one or more terms remains to be seen, but few will match Hanja Maij-Weggen's nearly 20-year membership. She was a member of the European Parliament on behalf of the CDA from 1979 to 1989 and from 1994 to 2003. 

In the book Brusselse verhalen (Brussels Stories) (Boom, 2013), several Dutch (former) MEPs discuss their time in Brussels. What moved them to stand as candidates, what did they manage to achieve and what did not work out? Maij-Weggen is one of those who talks about her experiences, where she shares stories, such as the time in the European Parliament when she spoke out in favour of European regulations on gender equality:

Hanja Maij-Weggen: Minister Ruding, then finance minister, complained in a speech to the CDA in Brabant that 'my' actions for equal treatment in social security, for example, would cost him 'at least five billion guilders'. My public response to that was: 'Then women will know exactly what they are missing per year.' That response hit like a bomb and was in capital letters on the front page of all the morning papers the next day. In that, I was supported, and not Minister Ruding.

Read the whole interview by Hilde Reiding and Leon van Damme with Hanja Maij-Weggen in Brusselse verhalen, with interviews with Hedy d'Ancona, Joost Lagendijk and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, among others.

Contact information

Organizational unit
Centre for Parliamentary History