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Third Drees cabinet

Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or)
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands

Drees III (13 October 1956 - 22 December 1958), was the fourth Dutch cabinet under prime minister Willem Drees, with ministers from PvdA, KVP, ARP end CHU.

The cabinet formation had taken 4 months. This was the longest and most difficult formation the Netherlands had ever seen, partly as a result of the rising tensions between PvdA and KVP. Also after the formation, these tensions kept rising, leading to the fall of the cabinet in December 1958. Root of the tensions were the decision of the Roman Catholic Church to excommunicate catholic socialists from the church. Nearly 100% of the south of the Netherlands used to vote for the catholic KVP for decades, but in the 1950s secular political parties got an increase in votes. The excommunication had the result of social exclusion in cities and villages which used to be solidly catholic blocks. Protestants in the north supported the Catholics.

After considerable growth after World War II, the rising wages,combined with lowered taxes, now led to overspending, which endangered the export. In reaction, wages and government spending were both lowered.

Rising tension with Indonesia, mostly about New Guinea, came to a climax when Indonesia nationalised Dutch properties in the country. The Dutch were supposed to leave entirely.

Other international problems were the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian revolt, which led to monetary and economic problems. The threat of an oil crisis as a result of the Suez crisis led to the installation of car-free Sundays. The suppression of the Hungarian revolution by the USSR led to plundering of communist institutions. Several thousands of Hungarian refugees were accepted into the Netherlands and welcomed in Dutch homes.

On 1 January 1957, the state pension AOW after the age of 65, that was proposed during the former cabinet Drees II, was installed. This resulted from a previous emergency law by Drees, and is the one thing he is remembered for most.


  • (Dutch) Kabinet-Drees III,
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