Diederik Samsom

Diederik Samsom
Diederik Samsom
Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands
Assumed office
January 30, 2003
Personal details
Born Diederik Maarten Samsom
July 10, 1971 (1971-07-10) (age 40)
Groningen, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid - PvdA)
Relations Married
Children Benthe (b. 2001),
Fane (b. 2006)
Residence Leiden, Netherlands
Alma mater Delft University of Technology (M.Sc., Nuclear physics)
Occupation Politician, chief executive, environmental activist
Religion Atheist
Website (Dutch) Labour Party website

Diederik Maarten Samsom (born July 10, 1971 in Groningen) is a Dutch politician. As a member of the Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid) he has been an MP since January 30, 2003. He is the party's spokesperson on environmental issues. Before that he was CEO of a green energy company and a campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands.


Early life and career

Samsom was raised in Leeuwarden. His father worked as an internist and his mother as a physiotherapist. Between 1983 and 1989 he attended the Municipal Gymnasium (Dutch: Stedelijk Gymnasium) in Leeuwarden. There he became interested in physics and so he went on to study Technical Physics (Dutch: "Technische Natuurkunde") at Delft University of Technology.[1] Samsom specialised in nuclear physics and became a level three radiation expert. He graduated in May 1997, obtaining a Dutch Engineer's degree (In Dutch: Ingenieur).[2] He was also on the board of the National Students' Union LSVb and edited a yearly edition of the Poenboek, which is basically a students' guide concerning monetary issues.

Samsom had been involved in environmentalism long before entering politics. Samsom joined environmental organisation Greenpeace Netherlands in September 1995 as a volunteer. He led several campaigns and projects until he quit in December 2001, when the PvdA approached him offering a career in politics.[3] He has also worked as the CEO of Real Energy (Dutch: Echte Energie), a small green energy trading company, from August 2002 until January 2003.

Political career

Samsom became a member of the social democratic Labour party while a student in Delft. He left the party but joined again in February 2001. He stood as a candidate in the 2002 Dutch general election, but was not elected due to the PvdA losing almost half of its seats in this election. The party regained most of its seats in the 2003 election and this time Samsom was given a high position (nine)[4] on the list of candidates. He was subsequently sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives on January 30, 2003.[5]

Red Engineer

Together with fellow PvdA parliamentarians Staf Depla and Jeroen Dijsselbloem he traveled around the country campaigning. They operated under the name The Red Engineers (Dutch: De rode ingenieurs), referring to both their scientific backgrounds and their red overalls. NRC editor Coen van Zwol called their campaign fresh, clear and sharp (Dutch: fris, helder en scherp).[6]

Parliamentarian (2003-present)

Samsom is the party's spokesperson on environmental issues: sustainability, climate and energy, traffic congestion and railway issues and projects. He was nineteenth on the list of candidates in the 2006 Dutch general elections and he received a high number of 6248 preference votes.[7]

2008 Parliamentary Chair election

In April 2008, Samsom was a candidate for succeeding Jacques Tichelaar as fractievoorzitter, but eventually he lost the vote to Mariëtte Hamer.

Jacques Tichelaar became the leader of the parliamentary party shortly after the 2006 general election in February 2007[8] but fell ill in January 2008. He had to undergo a septuple bypass surgery and it took him three months to recuperate. On April 16, he announced he had decided to resign from office for health reasons.[9] He plans to return as a parliamentarian on July 1, 2008.[10] As vice parliamentary leader Hamer had led the party in Tichelaar's absence. The next day she decided to run for office.[11] Three days later, Diederik Samsom officially announced he would compete also compete in the race. Other names were mentioned, but only Samsom and Hamer decided to vie for the position.[12] All 33 Parliamentarians gathered two days later to discuss the position and cast their votes, resulting in a victory for Hamer.[13]

According to opinion poller Maurice de Hond, a majority of the 2006 Labour voters preferred Samsom as party leader. Out of a total of 1500 Labour voters, 26 per cent favoured Hamer while 42 per cent liked Samsom better. From the people who indicate they will vote for the PvdA in the future a smaller majority of 40 to 35 preferred Samsom.[14]

Media appearances

Samsom has been involved with a number of television appearances including BNN's De Nieuwste Show, a satirical news show à la The Daily Show, current affairs programme Nova,[15] comical talk show Raymann is Laat, KRO's Nederland komt thuis and VARA's daily talk shows De wereld draait door and Pauw & Wittman, on which he has appeared twice.[16]


Quizking, that's how NRC Handelsblad referred to him after he won his fifth televised game show.[17] Particularly notable are his consecutive victories in the 2005 and 2006 National IQ Tests.[6] According to the test, he has an IQ of 136.[18] He also won the popular National News Quiz in 2005 and 2006 [19] and in May 2008 he was crowned winner of the Big History Quiz.[17]

Personal life

Samsom was raised in a non-religious family and considers himself an atheist. He's a non smoker and observes a vegetarian diet.[3] As his favourite sports he cites swimming and polo.[3] Samsom is married, and has two children. His daughter Benthe was born in 2001 and his son Fane was born in 2006. Samsom lived on a houseboat in Broek in Waterland with his then girlfriend and daughter before moving to Leiden, where he still resides as of 2008.[1][3]

See also

  • List of Dutch politicians


  1. ^ a b Abswoude, Peter van (February 2003). "Colloquium cum Diederik Samsom". Stentor: Acta Scholastica Gymnasii Civitatis Leovardiensis 3: 23–25  (Dutch)
  2. ^ The title "Ir." is like the international Engineer's degree.
  3. ^ a b c d "DIEDERIK SAMSOM" (in Dutch). Stichting Per Definitie. 2007. http://perdefinitie.nl/?do=profile&mid=116. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  4. ^ "PvdA-kandidaten Tweede Kamerverkiezingen 2003" (in Dutch). Parlement.com. http://www.parlement.com/9291000/modules/hjoixmh6. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  5. ^ "PvdA en Tweede Kamerverkiezingen 2003" (in Dutch). Parlement.com. http://www.parlement.com/cgi-bin/as.cgi/0291000/c/start/file=/9291000/modulesf/gagaj2gp. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  6. ^ a b Zwol, Coen van (2008-04-22). "Diederik Samsom, een ambitieuze ex-radicaal" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. http://www.nrc.nl/achtergrond/article1061536.ece/Diederik_Samsom,_een_ambitieuze_ex-radicaal. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  7. ^ "Uitslag van de Tweede Kamerverkiezing van 22 november 2006" (in Dutch). Kiesraad. 2006-11-22. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20080512003528/http://www.kiesraad.nl/tweede/virtuele_map/uitslag-van-de. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Jacques Tichelaar fractievoorzitter PvdA" (in Dutch). NU.nl. 2007-02-14. http://www.nu.nl/news/976826/11/rss/Jacques_Tichelaar_fractievoorzitter_PvdA.html. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  9. ^ "PvdA-fractieleider Tichelaar treedt af" (in Dutch). Algemeen Dagblad. 2008-04-16. http://www.ad.nl/binnenland/2227232/PvdAfractieleider_Tichelaar_treedt_af.html. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  10. ^ "Fractievoorzitter PvdA legt functie neer" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. 2008-04-16. http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article1054353.ece. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  11. ^ "Hamer wil fractieleider PvdA worden" (in Dutch). De Pers. 2008-04-17. http://www.depers.nl/binnenland/193419/Hamer-wil-fractieleider-PvdA-worden.html. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  12. ^ "Samsom kandidaat fractievoorzitterschap PvdA" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. 2008-04-21. http://www.nrc.nl/binnenland/article1059492.ece/Samsom_kandidaat_fractievoorzitterschap_PvdA. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  13. ^ "Hamer nieuwe fractievoorzitter" (in Dutch). Partij van de Arbeid. 2008-04-22. http://www.pvda.nl/renderer.do/menuId/200006406/clearState/true/sf/200006406/returnPage/200006406/itemId/220283403/realItemId/220283403/pageId/200006510/instanceId/37907/nwsbrf/true/nwsbrfd/2008_04_24/. Retrieved 2008-05-18. [dead link]
  14. ^ Kloor, Robin van der (2008-04-24). "PvdA-kiezer wil Samsom, en niet Hamer" (in Dutch). Elsevier. http://www.elsevier.nl/nieuws/politiek/artikel.asp?artnr=203154. Retrieved 2008-05-18. 
  15. ^ "Nova" (in Dutch). Omroep.nl. 2002-11-23. http://cgi.omroep.nl/cgi-bin/streams?/tv/nps/nova/sb.20021123-a.rm?proto=rtsp&start=0:0:9:21.622&end=0:0:26:43.960. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  16. ^ "Diederik Samson". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1561770/. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  17. ^ a b "Diederik Samsom winnaar Grote Geschiedenis Quiz" (in Dutch). NRC Handelsblad. 2008-05-01. http://www.nrc.nl/media/article1073207.ece/Diederik_Samsom_winnaar_Grote_Geschiedenis_Quiz. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  18. ^ "Diederik Samsom wint Nationale IQ Test" (in Dutch). Trouw. 2008-01-23. http://www.trouw.nl/laatstenieuws/laatstenieuws/article899834.ece/Diederik_Samsom_wint_Nationale_IQ_Test. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  19. ^ "Samsom: Jan Smit past beste bij PvdA" (in Dutch). De Volkskrant. 2008-05-06. http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article534142.ece/Samsom_Jan_Smit_past_beste_bij_PvdA. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 

Further reading

  • (Dutch) Oostveen, Margriet "De activist, de filosoof, de strateeg", NRC Handelsblad, November 18, 2002

External links

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