EU father Max Kohnstamm dies aged 96

22nd October 2010, Comments 0 comments


Former diplomat and historian Max Kohnstamm has died in Amsterdam aged 96. A key public figure, he was one of Holland's main proponents of European cooperation.

After reading history at the University of Amsterdam, in 1938 he spent a year in the United States studying President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, aimed at combating the Great Depression.

European Coal and Steel Community After World War II, part of which he spent in German detention camps in the Netherlands, he served as Queen Wilhelmina's private secretary for a number of years. Between 1952 and 1956 he was Secretary of the High Authority of General of the European Coal and Steel Community, the precursor of the European Economic Community, which later became the European Union.

Subsequently, he cooperated for 25 years with Jean Monnet, the Frenchman widely regarded as the main architect of European unification, and became deputy chair of the "Comité d'Action pour les Etats Unis d'Europe", founded by Mr Monnet.

Between 1976 and 1981 he served as the first president of the European University Institute in Florence.

A staunch proponent also of Atlantic cooperation, he was one the founders, in 1954, of the annual Bilderberg Conferences, which brings together influential figures from Europe and the United States.

Honours In recognition of his tireless work as a diplomat, he received many honours, including important distinctions from the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

In 1977, Mr Kohnstamm was awarded the Wateler Freedom Prize, in 1987 the Jean Monnet Prize and in 2004 he the Roosevelt Freedom Award.

He was the father of D66 politician Jacob Kohnstamm, a former MP and senator and a former deputy interior minister.

MR Kohnstamm will be buried on Tuesday. A memorial service will be held in a church in Amsterdam.

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