Paul Vanden Boeynants
Paul Vanden Boeynants in 1966
|41st Prime Minister of Belgium|
20 October 1978 - 3 March 1979
19 March 1966 - 17 June 1968
|Minister of Defense|
|Paul Willem Segers|
|Born||22 May 1919|
|Died||9 January 2001 (aged 81)|
|Political party||Humanist Democratic Centre|
Paul Emile François Henri Vanden Boeynants (pronounced ['p?l vand?n buj'nants]; 22 May 1919 - 9 January 2001) was a Belgian politician. He served as the 41st prime minister of Belgium for two brief periods (1966-68 and 1978-79).
Vanden Boeynants (called "VDB" by journalists) was born in Forest / Vorst, a municipality in the Brussels-Capital Region. Active as a businessman in the meat industry, he was a Representative for the PSC-CVP between 1949 and 1979. From 1961 to 1966 he led the Christian democrat PSC-CVP (which was in those days a single party). He led the CEPIC, its conservative fraction.
Vanden Boeynants served as minister for the middle class (1958-1961). In 1966, he became Prime Minister of Belgium; he stayed in this post for two years. From 1972-1979 he served as minister of defense. In 1978-1979 he led another Belgian government. Vanden Boeynants then served as chairman of the PSC (1979-1981). He left politics in 1995, and died of pneumonia after undergoing cardiovascular surgery in 2001.
One of his famous expressions, in a unique mixture of Dutch and French, was: Trop is te veel en te veel is trop. ("too many is too much and too much is too many").
Convicted in 1986 for fraud and tax evasion, Vanden Boeynants escaped jail but was sentenced to three years. This prevented him from pursuing mayoral aspirations in Brussels. He underwent a political rehabilitation during the early 1990s.
In an incident that is still the subject of dispute, Vanden Boeynants was kidnapped on 14 January 1989 by members of the Haemers criminal gang. Three days later, the criminals published a note in the leading Brussels newspaper Le Soir, demanding 30 million Belgian francs in ransom. Vanden Boeynants was released unharmed a month later, on 13 February, when an undisclosed ransom was paid to the perpetrators. The gang members were caught and imprisoned. Patrick Haemers, the head of the gang, later committed suicide in prison, and two members of his gang managed to escape from the St Gillis Prison in 1993.
The kidnapping was referenced in a 1989 novelty song by the New Beat band Brussels Sound Revolution called "Qui...?", which featured samples from the press conference Vanden Boeynants gave after his kidnapping. It was a hit on both sides of the Belgian language border. In Flanders, Belgium it reached the 28th place in the Radio 2 hitparade at the time for one week.