Hugo de Jonge

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Person.png Hugo de Jonge  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Born26 September 1977
Bruinisse, Netherlands
Alma materInholland University of Applied Sciences
PartyChristian Democratic Appeal
Dutch Health Minister during Covid-19.

Hugo Mattheüs de Jonge is a Dutch politician serving as first Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport since 2017 in the Third Rutte cabinet. A member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), he was elected to its leadership in 2020 for the upcoming general election. He withdrew later that year, citing an impossibility to combine his position as Health Minister (which he also announced to refuse to stay in 2022) in charge of the COVID-19 pandemic efforts with his party leadership.[1]

Early life and career

De Jonge studied at the Ichthus Hogeschool in Rotterdam to become a teacher in primary education and then continued in Zwolle a study for school management, which he completed with a diploma "school leader primary education".

De Jonge worked in education for five years, first as a schoolteacher and eventually as deputy director of a primary school.[2]

De Jonge moved to national policy by working as a policy assistant for the CDA group in the House of Representatives in 2004. Between 2006 and 2010 he worked at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science as political assistant of the CDA Minister Maria van der Hoeven and State Secretary Marja van Bijsterveldt and as a policy assistant with a focus on quality improvement of the secondary education.[3]

Political career


In 2010, De Jonge was appointed as alderman with the portfolio of Education, Youth and Family in Rotterdam. As such, he argued in 2013 on national television for the closing of the Islamic school association Ibn Ghaldoun after a number of problems came to light.[4][5]

After the municipal elections of 2014, De Jonge was appointed again as alderman, with the Healthcare portfolio. The same year he was announced as the Politician of the Year in Rotterdam.[6] In October 2016, he announced a programme to persuade parents that are considered vulnerable to consider voluntary birth control.[7] As he left the Rotterdam politics in October 2017, he was awarded the municipal Wolfert van Borselenpenning.[8]


In October 2017, De Jonge was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Third Rutte cabinet.[9] During the administration of the oath and installation of the new Ministers, De Jonge received media attention because of his unusual choice of shoes, receiving both criticism and praise.[10][8]

After the resignation of Bruno Bruins as Minister for Medical Care on 19 March 2020, De Jonge became responsible for the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11] In this capacity, he initiated the development of a COVID-19 app.[2]

On 18 June 2020, De Jonge announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Christian Democratic Appeal, which had been vacant since the resignation of Sybrand van Haersma Buma in May 2019.[12] In the vote, he won against Pieter Omtzigt.

Covid-19 Vaccines

During the summer of 2021, De Jonge was criticized by a legion of virologists for actively admitting he tried to stimulate and pressure younger Dutch citizens into getting vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, exclaiming in press conferences that "if they take this particular vaccine, they are allowed to go the nightclubs and bars the same day, without testing or maintaining distance". Although De Jonge confirmed going against WHO stance with this policy, he defended his statements by arguing that it helped a lot of younger people make the decision, with the leading virologists in his Outbreak Management Team, supporting this strange reasoning, stimulating an outbreak 1 week later, with a growth rate in infections of 385%.[13]

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