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New Education Ministers in Denmark and in the Netherlands

Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen recently presented his new government. For the first time in Denmark’s history almost half of the ministers are women, precisely 9 out of 19. The new Minister for Education is Tina Nedergaard from 23 February 2010. Her predecessor, Bertel Haarder was appointed minister for the newly established Ministry of Interior and Health Affairs.

Tina Nedergaard gained an MA in political science from Aarhus University in 1997. Afterward she worked at the International Education Centre in Denmark then at the Danish Employers' Confederation. She entered politics in 2001 gaining ten years of experiences in different spokeperson roles. Tina first started as an IT and telecommunications spokeswoman, then became responsible for communication on education, later on for food, agriculture and fisheries and consumer policy. Before becoming Education Minister she was the Liberal Party’s Chief Finance Communicator. Experienced both in education and in politcs Tina Nedergaard still faces a big challenge. Her ten years background as spokewomen could be compared to Mr Haarder’s ten years spent in ministerial roles.

In the Netherlands, the tumultuous demission of Balkenende IV has also left its marks on the Ministry of Science, Education and Culture. Minister Ronald Plasterk passed on the torch to André Rouvout, until recently Minister of Youth and Family. It is, however, State Secretary Marja van Bijsterveldt who now holds the portfolio for higher education, research and innovation, amongst others, within the department.

Marja van Bijsterveld, a member of Balkenende’s Christian-Democrat Party (CDA), has a background in the health care sector and a nursing degree. She has been a State Secretary for the Ministry since 2007 where she was, until the demission of the government, in charge of secondary education. She now makes the leap to tertiary education and strengthens her position in the Ministry. As State Secretary, she will, together with Minister André Rouvout, provide the Ministry's political and strategic leadership until the new elections in June, which will decide on the political future of both.

Danish Ministry for Education Danish Ministry of Interior and Health Ministry of Science, Education and Culture, The Netherlands