9 February 2018 from 14:30 to 15:45

PhD thesis defence Anne-Marie Mreijen: Biography of Marinus van der Goes van Naters

Jonkheer Marinus van der Goes van Naters (1900-2005). Bron: Wikemedia Commons/Collectie SPAARNESTAD PHOTO/NA/Anefo/Raucamp
Jonkheer Marinus van der Goes van Naters (1900-2005). Source: Wikemedia Commons/Collectie SPAARNESTAD PHOTO/NA/Anefo/Raucamp

Anne-Marie Mreijen wrote a biography of Marinus van der Goes van Naters (1900-2005), a politician who contributed to the renewal of the Dutch social democratic movement in the 1930s. On 9 February she will defend her dissertation at the Faculty of Humanities.

Marinus van der Goes van Naters

The history of the twentieth century is reflected in the life of the Dutch politician and lawyer Marinus (‘Dup’) van der Goes of Naters, also known as the ‘Red Squire’. He was a flamboyant and idiosyncratic politician, who during his lifetime witnessed the great events of the twentieth century: World War I and the Russian revolution, the rise of national socialism and World War II, post-war reconstruction and the rise of the welfare state, European integration, decolonization, and the emergence of new social movements from the end of the 1960s.

Drs. Anne-Marie Mreijen
Drs. Anne-Marie Mreijen

Icon of social democracy

Van der Goes van Naters contributed to the renewal of the Dutch social democratic movement in the 1930s. In the first postwar years, he was the parliamentary party leader of the Dutch Labour party Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA), during the turbulent years of reconstruction and decolonization. The latter issue led to his downfall, after which he never managed to get a ministerial post or any other high political position. Nevertheless he was described as the ‘icon of social democracy’ at the end of his long life.

Constructing his own image

In order to investigate what this reputation is based on, this biography explores four entangled research themes that played an important role in Van der Goes' life: his work as a politician, his education as a jurist, the different places where he developed his ideas and where he practised politics (parliament, various committees, the social democratic movement, transnational networks) and the way he presented himself. Van der Goes van Naters appeared to be someone who carefully shaped and constructed his image: in interviews, by writing an autobiography and by selecting and compiling his political archive.

Fighting for an equal and just society

Although Van der Goes van Naters represented the interests of the working class, his intellectual view of society and politics was often at odds with the views of the average party member. Moreover, the principle of ‘aristo-democracy’ he advocated, was not very consistent with the social democratic value of equality. Nevertheless, Van der Goes van Naters appealed to people’s imaginations and at the end of his life he acted as the conscience of the Dutch social democrats. While the party embraced the ‘Third Way’ during the 1990s, he continued to point out to his party members the traditional social democratic values: fighting for an equal and just society.

Start date and time
9 February 2018 14:30
End date and time
9 February 2018 15:45
PhD candidate
Anne-Marie Mreijen
Dissertation
De rode jonker. De eeuw van Marinus van der Goes van Naters (1900-2005)
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. I. de Haan