Wim F. Duisenberg

Willem Frederik Duisenberg, commonly known as Wim Duisenberg (1935 – 2005), spent most of his notable career in the banking sector, but was also a professor of economics and member of the Dutch government. As the first president of the European Central Bank, he was instrumental in the introduction of the Euro in twelve European countries in 2002 and has greatly contributed to financial stability in general.

His dedication, progressive thinking and success in all arenas, academic, industry and government, together comprise the core principles upon which Duisenberg school of finance was founded.

Early life

Duisenberg was born in the Frisian town of Heerenveen. He studied economics at the University of Groningen, majoring in International Economic Relations. In 1965, having written his thesis “The Economical Consequences of Disarmament”, he obtained his Ph.D.


Duisenberg subsequently worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington and was later appointed Professor at the University of Amsterdam, where he taught macroeconomics. His oration was titled “Imported Inflation”.

From 1973 to 1977, Duisenberg was Minister of Finance of the Netherlands. He was responsible for a financial policy directed at the growth of public expenditure and redirection of income. Even though public spending had to cover for the effects of the oil crisis of 1973, he urged for moderation, which did not make him overly popular with other members of the Cabinet. In the period 1977 – 1978 Duisenberg was a Member of Parliament on behalf of the Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid), but gave up his seat in Parliament to become Vice President of Rabobank, a Dutch private bank. Two years later, he was appointed President of De Nederlandsche Bank – the Dutch Central Bank – serving as its president from 1982 to 1997

First president of the European Central Bank

Owing to the success of his monetary policy, he became well-known in other European countries, and in 1998 he was appointed as the first President of the new European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

Duisenberg announced he would retire on 9 July 2003 (on his 68th birthday), but he remained in office until Jean-Claude Trichet took over presidency of the ECB on November 1 2003.

Duisenberg died in 2005 at the age of 70, while vacationing at his villa in Faucon near Orange, France. A commemorating service was held on August 6, 2005 in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Duisenberg was buried later that day on the Zorgvlied cemetery in Amsterdam.

Duisenberg has received numerous decorations: Knight in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands (April 11, 1978), Commander in the Order of Orange-Nassau and Commander in the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands (June 1997). In addition, Duisenberg received an Honorary Doctorate in Economics, at the University of Amsterdam on January 8, 2001. A commemorative statue was revealed in his birth place of Heerenveen on March 26, 2007

Wim F. Duisenberg

Wim F. Duisenberg