Wilhelm Klaus Norbert "Norbert" Schmelzer (22 March 1921 – 14 November 2008) was a Dutch politician and diplomat of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and economist. Schmelzer was known for his abilities as a debater and negotiator. Schmelzer continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death. He holds the distinction as the first and only serving State Secretary for General Affairs.

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  • Wilhelm Klaus Norbert "Norbert" Schmelzer (22 March 1921 – 14 November 2008) was a Dutch politician and diplomat of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and economist. Schmelzer worked as a civil servant for the Ministry of Economic Affairs from 1948 until 1956. After the election of 1956 Schmelzer was appointed as the first State Secretary for the Interior in the Cabinet Drees III, taking office on 29 October 1956. The Cabinet Drees III fell on 11 December 1958 and the caretaker Cabinet Beel II was formed with Schmelzer continuing as State Secretary for the Interior, taking office on 22 December 1958. Schmelzer was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1959, he served in the House of Representatives from 20 March 1959 until 19 May 1959. The following cabinet formation resulted in the formation of the Cabinet De Quay with Schmelzer appointed as the first State Secretary for General Affairs, taking office on 19 May 1959. After the election of 1963 Schmelzer returned as a Member of the House of Representatives on 2 July 1963. After the Leader of the Catholic People's Party and Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party in the House of Representatives announced he was stepping down five months after the installation of the Cabinet Marijnen Schmelzer was nominated as his successor. After De Kort stood down on 7 December 1963, Schmelzer was chosen to succeed him en became the Leader of the Catholic People's Party and Parliamentary leader of the Catholic People's Party in the House of Representatives. The Cabinet Marijnen fell on 27 February 1965 and Schmelzer was Formateur. After a failed cabinet formation attempt by Schmelzer he suggested Jo Cals as a candidate for Prime Minister. The following cabinet formation resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Cals on 14 April 1965. Schmelzer opted to remain in the House of Representatives instead of a ministerial post. On 14 October 1966 Schmelzer proposed a motion in the House of Representatives that called for a stronger financial and economic policy to further reduce the deficit from the Cabinet Cals, Prime Minister Jo Cals saw this as an indirect motion of no confidence against his cabinet from his own party and announced the resignation of the cabinet that same day. This crisis is called the Night of Schmelzer. The Cabinet Cals remained in office until the caretaker Cabinet Zijlstra was installed on 22 November 1966. For the election of 1967 Schmelzer served as Lijsttrekker (top candidate) for the Catholic People's Party. The Catholic People's Party sufferd a loss, losing 8 seats but remained the largest party and now had 42 seats in the House of Representatives. The following cabinet formation resulted in a coalition agreement which formed the Cabinet De Jong. In January 1971 Schmelzer unexpectedly announced that she would not stand for the election of 1971 but instead run for the Senate. He resigned as the Leader of the Catholic People's Party and Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives on 28 April 1971 but retained his seat in the House of Representatives and continued to serve as a backbencher. Schmelzer was elected as a Member of the Senate after the Senate election of 1971, taking office on 11 May 1971 and resigned as a Member of the House of Representatives that same day. The following cabinet formation resulted in the formation of the Cabinet Biesheuvel I with Schmelzer appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking office on 6 July 1971. The Cabinet Biesheuvel I fell on 19 July 1972 and was replaced by the caretaker Cabinet Biesheuvel II with Schmelzer continuing as Minister of Foreign Affairs, taking office on 9 August 1972. Shortly before the general election of 1972 Schmelzer unexpectedly announced his retirement from national politics. Following the end of his active political career, Schmelzer occupied numerous seats as a corporate director and nonprofit director for supervisory boards in the business and industry world and several international non-governmental organizations (KPN, Douwe Egberts, Akzo, Heijmans, Netherlands Atlantic Association and the Institute of International Relations Clingendael) and as an diplomat and lobbyist for several economic delegations on behalf of the Dutch government and the European Economic Community. Schmelzer was known for his abilities as a debater and negotiator. Schmelzer continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death. He holds the distinction as the first and only serving State Secretary for General Affairs. (en)
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  • Wilhelm Klaus Norbert "Norbert" Schmelzer (22 March 1921 – 14 November 2008) was a Dutch politician and diplomat of the defunct Catholic People's Party (KVP) now merged into the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and economist. Schmelzer was known for his abilities as a debater and negotiator. Schmelzer continued to comment on political affairs as a statesman until his death. He holds the distinction as the first and only serving State Secretary for General Affairs. (en)
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  • Norbert Schmelzer (en)
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