Ruud Lubbers (1939-2018) was one of the longest-serving prime ministers in Dutch history. He governed for 12,5 years (1982-1994) and in a crucial period, when a severe economic crisis forced the Dutch cabinet to make severe cuts in public spending, social benefits and civil servants' salaries, while the country was torn apart by the question of whether to install cruise missiles as the Americans had requisted. Later, the economic tide turned and the Netherlands compared favourably with the rest of Europe, which was in part due to the policies implemented in the 1980s. Doom-and-gloom thinking gave way to new momentum.
The aim of this project is to present a critical, scholarly biography, based on new sources and insights. It is more than twenty-five years ago that Lubbers was prime minister. So there is enough distance for a nuanced assessment of the man and what he brought about. Today, moreover, the historian has important primary sources at his disposal: archival material such as the minutes of the council of ministers, party documents and private correspondence. Former protagonists will be interviewed too. Lubbers himself supported the project and shared his memories with the Centre for Parliamentary History. Unfortunately, he died rather unexpectedly on 14 February 2018.