The former head of the secret service and the anti-terrorism agency, Dick Schoof (67), is to become the new head of government of the Netherlands.

The four future coalition parties announced this on Tuesday in The Hague. The non-party Schoof is currently the highest official in the Ministry of Justice. He is expected to lead the most right-wing government in the country’s history and succeed current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who will become NATO Secretary General. 

Right-wing populist Geert Wilders spoke of a good choice. “He stands above the parties and has our trust.” He also has broad experience.

Around six months ago, the Dutch elected a new parliament. The Party for Freedom (PVV) of the radical right-wing populist Geert Wilders surprisingly became the strongest force with 37 seats. For a stable majority he needed at least two partners. After laborious negotiations, Wilders agreed on a coalition with the right-wing liberal VVD of the previous Prime Minister Rutte, the right-wing conservative NSC and the right-wing populist farmers’ party BBB. 

In order to make the coalition possible, Wilders gave up the office of head of government and some of his most controversial demands such as the ban on mosques. Half of the cabinet should consist of non-professional politicians.

Schoof has not yet appeared politically, but was a member of the Social Democratic Party until a few years ago. He is considered an expert on security and migration – two central points for the right-wing coalition partners. Schoof headed the intelligence and security service AIVD, was coordinator in the fight against terrorism and also director of the immigration authority. 

It will probably take a few weeks until the entire cabinet is in place. It is expected that the king will be able to swear in the new government in around four weeks. 

When presenting the coalition agreement on May 16, the right-wing populist Wilders announced a radical change of course for the Netherlands. The leader of the anti-Islam party promised “the strictest asylum policy ever” and a drastic restriction on immigration. The plans also include easing environmental regulations for farmers and eliminating subsidies for sustainable energy.