Dries van Agt

Dries van Agt (NL, 1931) served as the Prime Minister of the Netherlands during three successive governments from 1977 to 1982 after becoming the first leader of the CDA (Christian Democratic Alliance). 

Coffeeshop signCoffeeshop sign
The Dutch coffeeshop system

A charismatic and controversial politician, Dries van Agt is the man responsible for the tolerance policy (‘gedoogbeleid’) which in 1976 divided ‘soft’ from ‘hard’ drugs. This act paved the way for cannabis decriminalization and the Dutch coffeeshop system. It also enabled more emphasis on, and resources for, the fight against the large scale hard drug trade.

Dries van Agt is Prime Counselor for the International Forum for Justice and Peace. 

Nowadays, Dries van Agt is a strong voice in debates ranging from the legalization of cannabis to the conflict in the Middle East.