Benk Korthals

Albert Hendrik "Benk" Korthals (born 5 October 1944) is a retired Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and jurist.

Benk Korthals
Benk Korthals in 2011
Chairman of the People's Party
for Freedom and Democracy
In office
22 May 2011  14 June 2014
LeaderMark Rutte
Preceded byIvo Opstelten
Succeeded byHenry Keizer
Minister of Defence
In office
22 July 2002  12 December 2002
Prime MinisterJan Peter Balkenende
Preceded byFrank de Grave
Succeeded byHenk Kamp
Minister of Justice
In office
3 August 1998  22 July 2002
Prime MinisterWim Kok
Preceded byWinnie Sorgdrager
Succeeded byPiet Hein Donner
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
23 May 2002  22 July 2002
In office
16 September 1982  3 August 1998
Parliamentary groupPeople's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
Personal details
Albert Hendrik Korthals

(1944-10-05) 5 October 1944 (age 76)
Voorschoten, Netherlands
Political partyPeople's Party for
Freedom and Democracy

(from 1977)
Alexandra Stemerding
(m. 1977)
Children3 children
FatherHenk Korthals (1911–1976)
ResidenceRotterdam, Netherlands
Alma materLeiden University
(Bachelor of Laws, Master of Laws)
OccupationPolitician · Jurist · Lawyer · Prosecutor
Military service
Allegiance Netherlands
Branch/serviceRoyal Netherlands Navy
Years of service1963–1965 (Conscription)
1965–1975 (Reserve)
Rank Lieutenant (J.G.)
UnitNaval squadron
Battles/warsCold War

Korthals attended the Gymnasium Leiden from June 1957 until June 1963 and applied at the Leiden University in June 1967 majoring in law and obtaining an Bachelor of Laws degree before graduating with an Master of Laws degree in July 1973. Korthals worked as a lawyer and prosecutor in Rotterdam from January 1974 until August 1998. Korthals was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives after the election of 1982, taking office on 16 September 1982. After the election of 1998 Korthals was appointed as Minister of Justice in the Cabinet Kok II, taking office on 3 August 1998. After the election of 2002 Korthals returned as a Member of the House of Representatives, taking office on 23 May 2002. Following the cabinet formation of 2002 Korthals was appointment as Minister of Defence in the Cabinet Balkenende I, taking office on 22 July 2002. On 12 December 2002 Korthals resigned following the conclusions of a parliamentary inquiry report into a construction fraud investigation that was mishandled by him while serving as Minister of Justice. Korthals also served as Chairman of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy from 22 May 2011 until 14 June 2014.[1][2][3][4]


Ribbon barHonourCountryDateComment
Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion Netherlands 28 April 1995
Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau Netherlands 3 July 2003
Commemorative Medal for Advancing Latvia's Membership to NATO Latvia 19 March 2004


  1. (in Dutch) Jezuïetenonderwijs had veel invloed op samenleving Archived March 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine,, 15 April 2009
  2. (in Dutch) Benk Korthals voorgedragen als nieuwe VVD-voorzitter, Volkskrant, 17 March 2011
  3. (in Dutch) Benk Korthals nieuwe voorzitter VVD, RTL Nederland, 22 April 2011
  4. (in Dutch) Benk Korthals nieuwe voorzitter VVD Archived 2012-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, Telegraaf, 22 April 2011