Niels Matthiasen

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Person.png Niels Matthiasen  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Niels Matthiasen.png
Born21 July 1924
Copenhagen, Denmark
Died16 February 1980 (Age 55)
London, UK
PartySocial Democrats (Denmark)
Danish social-democratic politician. One of the co-founders of the pro-NATO influence organization Atlantsammenslutningen. Attended 1967 Bilderberg as party secretary.

Employment.png Denmark/Minister/Culture

In office
February 13, 1975 - 1978

Employment.png Denmark/Minister/Culture

In office
September 21, 1971 - December 19, 1973

Employment.png Member of the Folketing Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
November 15, 1960 - 1980
not during 1977-78

Niels Peter Jacob Matthiasen was a Social Democrat (Danish:Socialdemokraterne) politician who was a minister on several occasions.[1]

Early life

Matthiasen was the adopted son of the publisher and active social democrat Heinrich Matthiasen, who, among other things, published the works of Martin Andersen Nexø. Through his parents, who led a partying lifestyle - he was already in contact with personalities such as the social democratic politicians Thorvald Stauning, Frederik Borgbjerg and later H.C. Hansen during his childhood. First he attended the Skt. Jørgens Gymnasium, but in 1939 he left and joined his father's publishing house and worked there in various departments.

In 1942, at the age of eighteen, during the occupation of Denmark by the German Wehrmacht, he joined the resistance movement and helped found the organization Frihedskampens Veteraner. In the years that followed he wrote articles for various social-democratic, but also communist underground newspapers.

After the end of the Second World War, however, he became involved in Socialdemokraterne under the influence of Hans Hedtoft and HC Hansen. In 1949 he was one of the co-founders of the security organization Atlantsammenslutningen and was also its secretary. After the death of his father, he became head of the publishing house in 1954 and held this position until 1957.

In 1957 he was appointed by HC Hansen, who had succeeded Hedtoft as Prime Minister since February 1, 1955, as head of the campaign team of the Socialdemokraterne for the elections on May 14, 1957 for the Folketing. Although the party suffered a slight loss of mandates compared to the Folketing elections of September 22, 1954, he subsequently became secretary of the Social Democratic Association (Socialdemokratisk Forbund). Additionally he was editor of the newspaper Verdens Gang from 1958 to 1961.

In the election of November 15, 1960, Matthiasen was first elected as a Member of Parliament.

Party secretary and minister

After Matthiasen was elected party secretary of the Socialdemokraterne in 1961, he pushed through numerous modernizations within the party organizations and introduced modern methods of agitation and public relations, which he made known on numerous visits to the individual party organizations and at public appearances. He held the position of party secretary until 1970 and also held leading positions in the social democratic press. He was also a board member of the Landsorganisationen i Danmark (LO), the umbrella organization of the trade unions and chairman of the information center of the labor movement.

In these capacities, he took a leading role in the new, more democratic restructuring of the party, delivering a keynote speech at the 1969 Socialdemokraterne party congress. In 1969 Matthiasen, who in 1963 became chairman of the supervisory board of Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen and between 1966 and 1968 was chairman of the foreign policy committee of the Socialdemokraterne, also became chairman of his party's culture committee. He also served for a time as a member of the Bureau of the Socialist International and was editor of the newspaper Ny Politik from 1970 to 1971 .

After the electoral success of the Social Democrats in the Folketing elections on September 21, 1971, Matthiasen was appointed by Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag as Minister of Culture in his third government and also held this ministerial post in the subsequent government formed by Anker Jørgensen until December 19, 1973.[2]

He then worked as a department head in the Nordic Council's Culture Secretariat, before he was reappointed as Minister of Culture by Prime Minister Jørgensen on February 13, 1975 after his party's renewed victory in the 1975 Folketing elections, and he held this position until his death. As Minister of Culture, he campaigned for the promotion of all cultural areas and promoted music, theater and museums. This led to a decentralization and democratization of public funding structures. On the other hand, during his tenure he also pushed through personnel measures that were sometimes criticized, such as by Robert Jacobsen as a professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Due to his many years in office and his extensive commitment, he was nicknamed “Kultur-Niels” in public. As Minister of Culture, he was also responsible for sport.

Matthiasen was often seen in public life, in the theatre, at exhibitions and at other cultural events in the company of the prominent ballet dancer Kirsten Simone. It was not generally known that he was an homosexual and he probably had real politic reasons for staying in the closet. However, in journalistic and cultural circles, in Parliament and in the higher echelons of the Social Democratic Party, as well as in the gay subculture, his "secret" was well known.[3]

At the same time he took over the post of Minister for Public Works (Minister for offentlige Arbejder) between February 13, 1975 and February 26, 1977, and then Minister of the Environment (Miljøminister) from February 26, 1977 to August 30, 1978.[4]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/196731 March 19672 April 1967St John's College (Cambridge)
United Kingdom
Possibly the only Bilderberg meeting held in a university college rather than a hotel (St. John's College, Cambridge)